Publication Year

2002

Keywords

Religious experience, Flannery O'Connor, literature, Catholicism

Disciplines

Catholic Studies | English Language and Literature | Liturgy and Worship | Religion

Abstract

While her contributions to American literature were not necessarily extensive, the magnitude of what Flannery O'Connor offered in her fiction during her short lifetime has both entertained and challenged readers and critics alike for five decades. One of the most widely recognized religious writers of the twentieth century, O'Connor's own religious experience emerges as a result of her own identity as a Southerner and as a Catholic. This experience is demonstrated in her correspondence to family and friends, and more importantly, depicted in her short fiction. The blending of these influences, while having a significant effect on her fiction, creates a distinct voice in literature which speaks to a wide ranged audience about theological experiences of conversion. These three interconnected concepts touch on fragments of her views of the religious experience; faith occurs because one recognizes one's sinful nature, and sometimes this recognition takes place in an event of conversion. O'Connor's works often present hauntingly grotesque images and violent events in seemingly natural settings to depict these concepts. This creation of the grotesque with the natural, in turn, transmits these religious ideas which she has encountered in her own religious experience in a shocking manner that grabs the attention of her readers, causing them to take a second look at their own religious experiences.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

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