Critical Context

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 153

To John Hawkes she writes, “More than in the Devil I am interested in the indication of Grace.” Grace—theological, stylistic, and personal—fills this collection. “Vocation implies limitation,” she told Dawkins, but she allowed neither illness nor art to interfere with her humor or her relationships. The modesty revealed in the...

(The entire section contains 153 words.)

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To John Hawkes she writes, “More than in the Devil I am interested in the indication of Grace.” Grace—theological, stylistic, and personal—fills this collection. “Vocation implies limitation,” she told Dawkins, but she allowed neither illness nor art to interfere with her humor or her relationships. The modesty revealed in the correspondence would have made her skeptical of anyone’s comparing these letters to those of John Keats or Hemingway, but similarities exist. Like theirs, hers offer numerous rewards; The Habit of Being provides a course in writing, an introduction to contemporary Catholic theology, an understanding of modern literature and criticism, a delightful encounter with an intelligent and alert mind.

Reviewers have universally recognized the contribution the book made to understanding O’Connor’s life and writing and have praised the humor and polish of the letters. The longest of her published works, it contains her most lovable and memorable character—herself.

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Masterpieces of Women's Literature The Habit of Being Analysis