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A Good Man Is Hard to Find | Study Guide

Flannery O'Connor

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Flannery O'Connor | Biography


Flannery O'Connor was born on March 25, 1925, in Savannah, Georgia. Her family was Roman Catholic, and religion played a prominent role in her household. O'Connor was a deep believer, and her faith impacted her writings as religion is a regular theme of her work.

The family moved to rural Milledgeville, Georgia, after O'Connor's father was diagnosed with lupus. The disease took his life when the author was 15 and would eventually cause her death as well at the young age of 39. The Milledgeville location influenced O'Connor's writing—many of her stories are set in the rural South.

O'Connor's first published story, "The Geranium," was written while she was pursuing a Master's of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa. She would go on to publish two novels and two short story collections. O'Connor is renowned as a short story writer and was a three-time winner of the O. Henry Prize for short fiction. The first of her two short story collections, A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, includes 10 short stories and was published in 1955. The title piece is also one of the most frequently anthologized stories of all time. Its rural southern setting and themes are similar to those found in many of O'Connor's works. The story is an example of Southern Gothic literature for which O'Connor was widely known. The narrative's themes include grace, glorification of the past, racism, and frustration with the world.

Diagnosed with lupus in December 1950, O'Connor spent the remaining 14 years of her life residing with her mother on a dairy farm a few miles from Milledgeville. Despite her disability she continued writing. Flannery O'Connor died on August 3, 1964.

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