Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor

How on earth did my mom not drive me straight into the arms of Flannery, seeing that we were both intellectual writerly types in the sparsely populated Catholic South? Perhaps because Flannery was too controversial, too vulgar. As a result of reading Gooch’s bio, I’ll pick up a copy of her short stories and take her for another spin. Why the resurgence of Southern writers in the 50s and 60s? “Because we lost the war.”

Flannery was supposedly deeply influenced by the early death of her father to the disease that would eventually kill her, lupus, “the wolf within.” Her bones deteriorated, along with her kidneys, which stopped working when she was 39, when she slipped into a coma and expired.

Growing up, she was dedicated to writing, not really into the other social acts of people her age, never really having a beau. She determined to live the single life, to write 4 hours a day, eventually getting recommendations to get into the Iowa writing program, and later, the mythical Yaddo, a colony for artists/writers to explore and create and be fed and housed. She lived away from Milledgeville between age 20 and 25 then ends up back in the bird sanctuary after being diagnosed with lupus. Living the remainder of her life with her mother on their dairy farm, Andalusia, in Milledgeville, she has tense relations between her ultra-correct Southern domineering mother. Flannery orders a pair of peahens (peacocks) which then get the spotlight from visiting media whenever they arrive. Flannery also featured in a Pathe film from the 30s as a young girl, showing off her chicken that was taught to walk backwards.