Teaching Flannery O'Connor | National Humanities Center

Humanities in Class: Webinar Series

Teaching Flannery O’Connor

Lucinda H. MacKethan (Fellow, 1984–85)

November 8, 2012

Flannery O’Connor’s stories have retained their power to intrigue, to perplex, and to instruct readers in both the art of storytelling and the mysteries of the spirit. Through close reading of “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” written early in her career, and “Revelation,” written shortly before her death, we will explore two of her most important concepts, the artistic technique of “the Grotesque” and the religious principle of Grace. Combining her concerns as artist and spiritual seeker, O’Connor brought Grace and the Grotesque into explosive alignment through her people and her place: the changing rural South of the mid-twentieth century. We use these two stories to trace the way she developed and perfected her trademark tools of humor, violence, vernacular manners, and allegory. Our goal is to show students how to analyze O’Connor’s fiction and the distinct reality it presents.


Literary Criticism / Education Studies / Pedagogy / American Literature / Writing Style /