65 Flannery O’Connor Quotes On Success In Life

Mary Flannery O’Connor was an American novelist, short story writer, and essayist. She wrote two novels and thirty-two short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. These Flannery O’Connor quotes will motivate you.

Best Flannery O’Connor Quotes

  1. “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  2. “You shall know the truth, and it will make you odd.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  3. “A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is. You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate. When anybody asks what a story is about, the only proper thing is to tell them to read the story. The meaning of fiction is not abstract meaning but experienced meaning.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  4. “You will have found Christ when you are concerned with other people’s sufferings and not your own.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  5. “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  6. “Right now the whole world seems to be going through a dark night of the soul.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  7. “…you have to cherish the world at the same time that you struggle to endure it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  8. “Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I’m always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  9. “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  10. “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.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  11. “One of the effects of modern liberal Protestantism has been gradually to turn religion into poetry and therapy, to make truth vaguer and vaguer and more and more relative, to banish intellectual distinctions, to depend on feeling instead of thought, and gradually to come to believe that God has no power, that he cannot communicate with us, cannot reveal himself to us, indeed has not done so, and that religion is our own sweet invention.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  12. “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.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  13. “[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 self-knowledge is humility . . .” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  14. “Remember that you don’t write a story because you have an idea but because you have a believable character.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  15. “It is the business of the artist to uncover the strangeness of truth” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  16. “Even in the life of a Christian, faith rises and falls like the tides of an invisible sea. It’s there, even when he can’t see it or feel it, if he wants it to be there. You realize, I think, that it is more valuable, more mysterious, altogether more immense than anything you can learn or decide upon It will keep you free – not free to do anything you please, but free to be formed by something larger than your own intellect or the intellects around you.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  17. “A God you understood would be less than yourself.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  18. “Anyone who survives a southern childhood has enough material to last a lifetime.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  19. “Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  20. “Total non-retention has kept my education from being a burden to me.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  21. “Writing is like giving birth to a piano sideways. Anyone who perseveres is either talented or nuts.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  22. “I use the grotesque the way I do because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  23. “There are two qualities that make fiction. One is the sense of mystery and the other is the sense of manners. You get the manners from the texture of existence that surrounds you. The great advantage of being a Southern writer is that we don’t have to go anywhere to look for manners; bad or good, we’ve got them in abundance. We in the South live in a society that is rich in contradiction, rich in irony, rich in contrast, and particularly rich in its speech” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  24. “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.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  25. “She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  26. “There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  27. “I am no disbeliever in spiritual purpose and no vague believer. I see from the standpoint of Christian orthodoxy. This means that for me the meaning of life is centered in our Redemption by Christ and what I see in the world I see in relation to that.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  28. “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.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  29. “In a sense sickness is a place, more instructive than a long trip to Europe, and it’s always a place where there’s no company, where nobody can follow. Sickness before death is a very appropriate thing and I think those who don’t have it miss one of God’s mercies.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  30. “I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  31. “In most good stories, it is the character’s personality that creates the action of the story. If you start with real personality, a real character, then something is bound to happen.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  32. “A working knowledge of the devil can be very well had from resisting him.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  33. “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” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  34. “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.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  35. “Those who have no absolute values cannot let the relative remain merely relative; they are always raising it to the level of the absolute.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  36. “If we forget our past, we won’t remember our future and it will be as well because we won’t have one.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  37. “I don’t deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  38. “We are not judged by what we are basically. We are judged by how hard we use what we have been given. Success means nothing to the Lord.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  39. “Every morning between 9 and 12 I go to my room and sit before a piece of paper. Many times, I just sit for three hours with no ideas coming to me. But I know one thing. If an idea does come between 9 and 12 I am there ready for it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  40. “People without hope not only don’t write novels but what is more to the point, they don’t read them. They don’t take long looks at anything, because they lack the courage. The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course, is a way to have experience.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  41. “The mind serves best when it’s anchored in the Word of God. There is no danger then of becoming an intellectual without integrity.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  42. Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  43. “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally. A higher paradox confounds emotion as well as reason and there are long periods in the lives of all of us, and of the saints when the truth as revealed by faith is hideous, emotionally disturbing, downright repulsive. Witness the dark night of the soul in individual saints. Right now the whole world seems to be going through a dark night of the soul.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  44. “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 bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  45. “…the only thing that makes the Church endurable is that it is somehow the body of Christ and that on this we are fed. It seems to be a fact that you have to suffer as much from the Church as for it but if you believe in the divinity of Christ, you have to cherish the world at the same time that you struggle to endure it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  46. “In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  47. “On the subject of the feminist business, I just never think…of qualities which are specifically feminine or masculine. I suppose I divide people into two classes: the Irksome and the Non-Irksome without regard to sex. Yes and there are the Medium Irksome and the Rare Irksome.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  48. “I am tired of reading reviews that call A Good Man brutal and sarcastic. The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism…. when I see these stories described as horror stories I am always amused because the reviewer always has hold of the wrong horror.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  49. “The high-school English teacher will be fulfilling his responsibility if he furnishes the student a guided opportunity, through the best writing of the past, to come, in time, to an understanding of the best writing of the present. He will teach literature, not social studies or little lessons in democracy or the customs of many lands. And if the student finds that this is not to his taste? Well, that is regrettable. Most regrettable. His taste should not be consulted; it is being formed.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  50. “I love a lot of people, understand none of them.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  51. “We hear a great deal of lamentation these days about writers having all taken themselves to the colleges and universities where they live decorously instead of going out and getting firsthand information about life. The fact is that anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days. If you can’t make something out of a little experience, you probably won’t be able to make it out of a lot. The writer’s business is to contemplate experience, not to be merged in it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  52. “Most of us have learned to be dispassionate about evil, to look it in the face and find, as often as not, our own grinning reflections with which we do not argue, but good is another matter. Few have stared at that long enough to accept that its face too is grotesque, that in us the good is something under construction. The modes of evil usually receive worthy expression. The modes of good have to be satisfied with a cliche or a smoothing down that will soften their real look.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  53. “You can’t clobber any reader while he’s looking. You divert his attention, then you clobber him and he never knows what hit him.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  54. “I suppose half of writing is overcoming the revulsion you feel when you sit down to it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  55. “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. I have also found that what I write is read by an audience which puts little stock either in grace or the devil. You discover your audience at the same time and in the same way that you discover your subject, but it is an added blow.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  56. “For me it is the virgin birth, the Incarnation, the resurrection which are the true laws of the flesh and the physical. Death, decay, destruction are the suspension of these laws. I am always astonished at the emphasis the Church puts on the body. It is not the soul she says that will rise but the body, glorified.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  57. “When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax and use more normal means of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock — to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  58. “I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  59. “Once the process [of conversion] is begun and continues…you are continually turning inward toward God and away from your own egocentricity…you have to see this selfish side of yourself in order to turn away from it. I measure God by everything I am not. I begin with that.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  60. “Go warn the children of God of the terrible speed of mercy.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

  61. “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.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  62. “It is hard to make your adversaries real people unless you recognize yourself in them – in which case, if you don’t watch out, they cease to be adversaries.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  63. “Conviction without experience makes for harshness.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  64. “Most of us come to the church by a means the church does not allow.” ~ Flannery O’Connor
  65. “Satisfy your demand for reason but always remember that charity is beyond reason, and God can be known through charity.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

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