I can't believe this group has no posts. Flannery O'Connor is one of my favorite writers! She's incredible.
My favorite story is, hands-down, "A Good Man is Hard to Find." I teach this story in each of my Introduction to Literature courses and the students always love it!
My question to you is what are your favorite Flannery O'Connor stories?
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I, too, love O'Connor. Her work defies any kind of categorization. My favorite story to read and to teach is "Good Country People." It is both hilarious and shockingly bizarre. The scene in which Manley Pointer (pun intended) runs off with Hulga's fake leg evokes a lot of discussion from students--in fact, I have even taken the time to read the story aloud in class so that they can experience it together.
If you have students who are reticent in class discussions, try reading and discussing this story.
"Good Country People" IS a strange mixture of humor and bizarre stuff!!! Love that one, too, and you're right...it DOES get a lot of discussion going in the classroom. :-)
I frequently teach "Good Country People" and "A Good Man is Hard to Find" along with "The Life You Save May Be Your Own." The last story is about a young blind woman is left abandoned by a con-man at the end of the story, so there is a clear connection to "Good Country People." Having students do an author study, especially of a writer like O'Connor gives them a unique chance to look for patterns and connections, both stylistic and thematic. O'Connor also provides stories that have protagonists who are not heroes and endings that are not traditionally neat and happy. Students are challenged to work on the more subtle message of the story.
When read in schools of the "Christ-haunted South," O'Connor's stories really shake up the students who cannot understand violence and the grotesque as being used in a greater vision of spiritual reality. O'Connor's use of the "worst of paths" to spiritual epiphanies gives the Puritanical mind a new perspective.
"Good Country People" is a favorite for demonstrating the "vain intellectualism" of O'Connor's characters as they seek solace in their lives.
I am also suprised that there's not much activity on O'Connor's discussion board. I love most of her stories, but my favorite is "Good Country People." My students love to pick the story apart and they have so many ideas about what the wooden leg means. They are amused by the characters and O'Connor's dark humor. I also love "A Good Man is Hard to Find."
My personal favorite story is "Everything that Rises Must Converge".
Prejudice meets contempt and one person's narrowness is trumped by the next person's bias. The task of escaping bigotry and stereotypical thinking in the south of this story is presented with complexity and is shown as a task that can divide generations.
Another reason I enjoy this story so much is that O'Connor uses an internal dialogue with the protagonist quite a bit. We can see his conflicts. We can see his weakness, even while he tries to act tough with his mom.
It's a funny story, and a sad one. But it's not only about hypocrisy and prejudice. It's also about family, history, and, above all, identity. Cramming so many deeply felt themes and subjects into a single story makes for some impressive work.
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