Study Guide

Flannery O'Connor Writer

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After leaving Connecticut, O'Connor settled into life at her mother's dairy farm, Andalusia. She wrote all morning and spent the rest of the day on correspondence and other activities, like tending to her chickens and peacocks.

Old habits die hard.

In 1952, her novel Wise Blood was published. The book told the story of a spiritually bankrupt veteran-turned-preacher Hazel Motes, and a self-declared prophet named Enoch Emery. It was a parade of the grotesque, featuring a mummified corpse, a gorilla costume, and people blinded with lye. 

Okay, so that all seems tame compared to the horrifying Human Centipede days we live in, but trust was intense back then.

The book shocked readers and critics. Wise Blood "introduces its author as a writer of power," the New York Times wrote. "There is in Flannery O'Connor a fierceness of literary gesture, an angriness of observation." 

We have a feeling the bon mot "don't kiss and tell" was invented because of this delightful over-sharer. 

Seriously, dude. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't go into a detailed explanation of what it's like to mack on a living bone bag. 

Toothy, skeletal kisses aside, O'Connor had many friends, correspondents, and birds, and was never wanting for company. She received another O. Henry Prize in 1963, was working on a third novel, and was constantly thinking up new ways to scare the snot out of T.S. Eliot. 

We would've suggested donning a gorilla mask and leaping out of his closet when he least expected it...but that's just us. 

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