Flannery O’Connor, undoubtedly one of the most well-read authors of the early 20th Century, had many strong themes deeply embedded within all her writings. Two of her most prominent and poignant themes were Christianity and racism. By analyzing, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” these two themes jump out at the reader. Growing up in the mid-1920’s in Georgia was a huge influence on O’Connor. Less than a decade before her birth, Georgia was much different than it was at her birth. Slaves labored tirelessly on their master’s plantations and were indeed a facet of everyday life. However, as the Civil War ended and Reconstruction began, slaves were not easily assimilated into Southern culture. Thus, O’Connor grew up in a highly racist area that mourned the fact that slaves were now to be treated as “equals.” In her everyday life in Georgia, O’Connor encountered countless citizens who were not shy in expressing their discontent toward the black race. This indeed was a guiding influence and inspiration in her fiction writing. The other guiding influence in her life that became a major theme in her writing was religion. Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, the only child of a Catholic family. The region was part of the 'Christ-haunted' Bible belt of the Southern States. The spiritual heritage of the region profoundly shaped O'Connor's writing as described in her essay "The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South" (1969). Many of her 32 short stories are inundated with Christ-like allusions and other references to her faith.
“A Good Man is Hard to Find,” O’Connor’s 1955 sho...
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...ing up right before her eyes.
Although Flannery O’Connor didn’t even live to see her 40th birthday, her fiction endures to this day. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” O’Connor effectively deals with the two huge themes (topics) of religion and racism. These two themes are crucial to understanding much of O’Connor’s great works and are relevant to all readers of O’Connor throughout all ages.
Bandy, Stephen C. "One of my babies": The Misfit and the Grandmother in Flannery O'Connor's short story 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find'. Studies in Short Fiction; Winter 1996, v33, n1, p107(11)
O’Connor, Flannery. The Complete Stories. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. New York: 1971.
Satterfield, Ben. "Wise Blood, Artistic Anemia, and the Hemorrhaging of O'Connor Criticism." Studies in American Fiction 17 (1989): 33-50.
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