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Quotes of the day: Flannery O'Connor

Published Tuesday, March 24, 2015 @ 7:37 PM EDT
Mar 24 2015

Mary Flannery O'Connor (March 25, 1925 - August 3, 1964) was an American writer and essayist. An important voice in American literature, she wrote two novels, 32 short stories, and many reviews and commentaries. She was a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. Her writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics. O'Connor's Complete Stories won the 1972 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was named the "Best of the National Book Awards" by internet visitors in 2009. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.

All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.

Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.

At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.

(Ayn Rand) makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.

Conviction without experience makes for harshness.

Doctors always think anybody doing something they aren't is a quack; also they think all patients are idiots.

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.

Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not.

Faith is what you have in the absence of knowledge.

I don't have to run from anything because I don't believe in anything.

I love a lot of people, understand none of them...

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.

If you don't hunt it down and kill it, it will hunt you down and kill you.

In the first place you can be so absolutely honest and so absolutely wrong at the same time that I think it is better to be a combination of cautious and polite.

It is better to be young in your failures than old in your successes.

It's easier to bleed than sweat...

Only if we are secure in our beliefs can we see the comical side of the universe.

People without hope not only don't write novels, but what is more to the point, they don't read them.

She looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity.

Sickness is more instructive than a long trip to Europe.

The basis of art is truth, both in matter and in mode.

The Southerner is usually tolerant of those weaknesses that proceed from innocence.

The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience.

There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

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

Total nonretention has kept my education from being a burden to me.

Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.

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.

When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.

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.

Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it... In yourself right now is all the place you've got.

You have to quit confusing a madness with a mission.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.

Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.


(March 25 is also the birthday of Gloria Steinem.)

Categories: Flannery O'Connor, Quotes of the day


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