The Best Flannery ‘Connor quotes

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When most people think of Flannery O’Connor, they probably think of her dark and often grotesque short stories. But O’Connor was also a devout Catholic, which infused her writing with spiritual themes and questions. This duality makes her an interesting figure to study for entrepreneurs, who must often balance the demands of business with their personal beliefs. In this blog post, we’ll explore the life and work of Flannery O’Connor, and see what lessons we can learn from her example.

Discover the most inspiring Truth, Writers, Fiction, Faith, Writing, Life, Believing quotes from Flannery ‘Connor, and much more.


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About Flannery ‘Connor

birth of the author

March 25, 1925

death of the author

August 3, 1964

occupation of the author

Short Story Writer, Essayist

date of the author


genre of the author

Southern Gothic

movement of the author

Literary Movement:
Christian Realism

award of the author

Notable Works:
Wise Blood, The Violent Bear It Away, A Good Man Is Hard To Find


The life you save may very well be your own. โ€” Flannery O

The writer is initially set going by literature more than by life. โ€” Flannery O

Nothing needs to happen to a writer’s life after they are 20. By then they’ve experienced more than enough to last their creative life. โ€” Flannery O

When there is a tendency to compartmentalize the spiritual and make it resident in a certain type of life only, the spiritual is apt gradually to be lost. โ€” Flannery O

You know,’ Daddy said, ‘it’s some that can live their whole life out without asking about it and it’s others has to know why it is, and this boy is one of the latters. He’s going to be into everything! โ€” Flannery O


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The main concern of the fiction writer is with mystery as it is incarnated in human life. โ€” Flannery O

To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness. โ€” Flannery O

She would of been a good woman,’ said The Misfit, ‘if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life. โ€” Flannery O

Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days. โ€” Flannery O

We are now living in an age which doubts both fact and value. It is the life of this age that we wish to see and judge. โ€” Flannery O

There won’t be any biographies of me because, for only one reason, lives spent between the house and the chicken yard do not make exciting copy. โ€” Flannery O

The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience. โ€” Flannery O


Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not. โ€” Flannery O

Faith has to take in all the other possibilities it can. โ€” Flannery O

What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. โ€” Flannery O

Faith comes and goes. It rises and falls like the tides of an invisible ocean. If it is presumptuous to think that faith will stay with you forever, it is just as presumptuous to think that unbelief will. โ€” Flannery O

There are some of us who have to pay for our faith every step of the way and who have to work out dramatically what it would be like without it and if being without it would be ultimately possible or not. โ€” Flannery O

Most of us come to the church by a means the church does not allow. โ€” Flannery O

Christianity is a strangely cheery religion. โ€” Flannery O


I am a writer because writing is the thing I do best. โ€” Flannery O

Writing is a good example of selfโ€“abandonment. I never completely forget myself except when I am writing and I am never more completely myself than when I am writing. โ€” Flannery O

Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one. โ€” Flannery O

Notโ€“writing is a good deal worse than writing. โ€” Flannery O

I suppose half of writing is overcoming the revulsion you feel when you sit down to it. โ€” Flannery O

I spend three hours a day writing and the rest of my day getting over it. โ€” Flannery O

Writing is like giving birth to a piano sideways. Anyone who perseveres is either talented or nuts. โ€” Flannery O

Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. โ€” Flannery O

I feel that discussing storyโ€“writing in terms of plot, character, and theme is like trying to describe the expression on a face by saying where the eyes, nose, and mouth are. โ€” Flannery O

I have found, in short, from reading my own writing, that my subject in fiction is the action of grace in territory largely held by the devil. โ€” Flannery O


The only way to the truth is through blasphemy. โ€” Flannery O

You shall know the truth, and it will make you odd. โ€” Flannery O

There are all kinds of truth … but behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there’s no truth. โ€” Flannery O

I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else’s. But behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there’s no truth. โ€” Flannery O

The truth is not distorted here, but rather a distortion is used to get at truth. โ€” Flannery O

The basis of art is truth, both in matter and in mode. โ€” Flannery O

Redundant Thematics

In Flannery ‘Connor Statements


To] know oneself is, above all, to know what one lacks. It is to measure oneself against Truth, and not the other way around. The first product of selfโ€“knowledge is humility . . . โ€” Flannery O

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. โ€” Flannery O


I have almost no capacity for worship. What I have is the knowledge that it is my duty to worship and worship only what I believe to be true.’ May 19, 1962 โ€” Flannery O

I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. โ€” Flannery O

That’s the trouble with you preachers,’ he said. ‘You’ve all got too good to believe in anything,’ and he drove off with a look of disgust and righteousness. โ€” Flannery O

She was a good Christian woman with a large respect for religion, though she did not, of course, believe any of it was true. โ€” Flannery O

I am interested in making up a good case for distortion, as I am coming to believe it is the only way to make people see. โ€” Flannery O

It was not right to believe anything you couldn’t see or hold in your hands or test with your teeth. โ€” Flannery O

If you’re a Catholic you believe what the Church teaches and the climate makes no difference. โ€” Flannery O

A God you understood would be less than yourself. โ€” Flannery O

Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better. โ€” Flannery O


It is always difficult to get across to people who are not professional writers that a talent to write does not mean a talent to write anything at all. โ€” Flannery O

The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention. โ€” Flannery O

The writer can choose what he writes about but he cannot choose what he is able to make live. โ€” Flannery O

The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location. โ€” Flannery O

The fiction writer has to engage in a continual examination of conscience. He has to be aware of the freak in himself. โ€” Flannery O

Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. โ€” Flannery O

The idea of being a writer attracts a good many shiftless people, those who are merely burdened with poetic feelings or afflicted with sensibility. โ€” Flannery O

It seems that the fiction writer has a revolting attachment to the poor, for even when he writes about the rich, he is more concerned with what they lack than with what they have. โ€” Flannery O

In my travels I am often asked if college stifles young writers. In my opinion, it doesn’t stifle them enough. โ€” Flannery O

I never understand how writers can succumb to vanityโ€“what you work the hardest on is usually the worst. โ€” Flannery O

When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God’s business. โ€” Flannery O


Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust, and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction. It’s not a grand enough job for you. โ€” Flannery O

It’s always wrong of course to say that you can’t do this or you can’t do that in fiction. You can do anything you can get away with, but nobody has ever gotten away with much. โ€” Flannery O

The two worst sins of bad taste in fiction are pornography and sentimentality. One is too much sex and the other too much sentiment. โ€” Flannery O

The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky. โ€” Flannery O


Flannery Oโ€™Connor was a master of the Southern Gothic style, and her writing is dark, funny, and often unsettling. But it is also full of wisdom about the human condition. In this post, weโ€™ve collected some of our favorite quotes from Oโ€™Connor on writing, faith, and life in general. If you enjoy these quotes as much as we do, be sure to check out our courses on creative writing and fiction. We think you will find them both inspiring and helpful in your own writing journey.

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