Date of Award

Spring 1972

Document Type



Languages & Literature

First Advisor

Henry Burgess

Second Advisor

Sister Miriam Clare Roesler

Third Advisor

Rev. C. Edward Robins


As one surveys the gamut of contemporary American literature, one frequently mentioned name is that of Flannery O'Connor. She is a widely discussed contemporary writer — and yet one of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood.

When Miss O'Connor died in 1964 at only thirty-nine years of age, she had achieved a substantial reputation as a fiction writer, despite her limited canon of works. She authored only two novels, Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away, and two collections of short stories, A Good Man Is Hard To Find and Everything That Rises Must Converge. Also included are an unfinished novel, Why Do Heathens Rage? and a few uncollected short stories and essays.

On the basis of this relatively small amount of material, one would not be able to claim that Flannery O'Connor is a major modem writer. But according to Carter W. Martin, a critic who has done extensive work on the writing of Miss O'Connor, "the quality of her fiction is such that she must be considered an extremely important minor writer of national, even international importance."1

All critics are not so kind as Martin however. Because of the strange, often terrifying texture of her fiction, the reviewers, as well as the general reading public have been genuinely confused about Flannery O'Connor.