Flannery O’Connor’s relatively short life was, superficially, rather uneventful. O’Connor was born on March 25, 1925, in Savannah, Georgia, to Regina Cline and Edward Francis O’Connor, Jr. She was their only child. O’Connor’s father worked in real estate and construction, and the family lived in Savannah until 1938, when the family moved to Atlanta. In that year, Edward O’Connor became a zone real estate appraiser for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Shortly thereafter, O’Connor and her mother moved to Milledgeville, Georgia, and her father became so ill that he had to resign from his job in Atlanta and move to Milledgeville. On February 1, 1941, Edward O’Connor died.
In her youth, O’Connor was diagnosed with the same disease that had killed her father when she was almost sixteen. Her short life would end tragically from complications related to disseminated lupus, a disease that attacks the body’s vital organs. From the fall of 1938 until her death, O’Connor spent most of her life in Milledgeville, except for brief hiatuses. After graduating from the experimental Peabody High School in 1942, O’Connor entered Georgia State College for Women (subsequently renamed Georgia College) in Milledgeville, where she majored in sociology and English and was graduated with an A.B. degree in June, 1945. While in college, she was gifted both in drawing comic cartoons and in writing. In September, 1945, O’Connor enrolled at the State University of Iowa with a journalism scholarship, and in 1946, her first story, “The Geranium” (later revised several times until it became “Judgement Day,” her last story), was published in Accent. In 1947, she received the master of fine arts degree and enrolled for postgraduate work in the prestigious Writers’ Workshop. She was honored in 1948 by receiving a place at Yaddo, an artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Planning never to return to the South, O’Connor lived briefly in New York City in 1949 but later moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, to live with Robert and Sally...
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