Monday, May 25, 2009

The Complete Stories

Book: The Complete Stories
Author: Flannery O’Connor
Edition: 1987, paperpack
Read: Reread May 2009
555 pages
Rated: 4 out of 5

As the title suggests, this is a collection of her stories. Her writing is not easy to read. But as you read these stories, an understanding develops of a world. A world of loss and depravity.

Unlike other authors, O’Connor does not write about acts which are bad—sex, cruelty, violence, but about people who are fallen. Fallen through every day lives and decisions, showing our own failings. She molds the person so you see that “all come short: of being good. In effect, her gift to us is to have us see ourselves as we really are. Not by concentrating on our “big bads”, but our small little evils. She allows us to see ourselves how the devil will portray us, accuse us, and how God could see and judge us.

But there is grace in her stories. Not grace which rides a white stallion coming to our rescue, but grace which allows the characters to some times be able to confront themselves. A grace which causes the realization that allows a bit of loss or self-realization into a life. Be it a man who feels the loss of his Mom whom he despises or a woman who is dumped on a honeymoon for a car, but finds a person who thinks she is beautiful.

Note: I found it helpful to read her other writings. While she does not explain her stories, they illuminate her intentions.

Essays by Flannery O’Connor—Mystery and Manners, Occasional Prose


- Wikipedia – Flannery O’Connor
- Flannery O’Connor Foundation – Web Site
- Guide – A Student’s Guide To Flannery O’Connor
- Georgia College and State University – Flannery O’Connor Collection
- Salon – A Southern Gothic legend is hard to find
- YouTube – Yale Lectures
- Essays by Flannery O’Connor—Mystery and Manners, Occasional Prose

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