Seeing through the Mystery: Flannery O’Connor


I forget when I first heard about Flannery O’Connor. Flannery was a well-known writer who was both Southern and Catholic. Her faith was an important part of how she saw that came through in her writing. I finally read a collection of her short fiction called A Good Man is Hard to Find and other stories a few years ago. I wasn’t a big fan of the stories, but I did appreciate her depiction of flawed people experiencing moments of grace.

I really liked Madeleine L’Engle’s nonfiction book Walking on Water, and didn’t realize Flannery had any published nonfiction. I just finished Mystery and Manners, and found Flannery quite insightful, such as:

Much of my fiction takes its character from a reasonable use of the unreasonable, though the reasonableness of my use of it may not always be apparent. The assumptions that underlie this use of it, however, are those of the central Christian mysteries. These are assumptions to which a large part of the modern audience takes exception. About this I can only say that there are perhaps other ways than my own in which this story could be read, but none other by which it could have been written. Belief, in my own case anyway, is the engine that makes perception operate. (109)

I really like how she thinks and how she sees.