How do you choose just one? Teaching Flannery O’Connor’s short fiction


Context for this Book Jacket Letter: I’m trying to find a Flannery O’Connor short story to teach to my Grade 12 students during our Modernist unit at the end of the year, so I picked up a copy of  A Good Man is Hard to Find at the library.


If you had to choose one story from this collection to inspire 25 Grade 12 students to read and fall in love with Flannery O’Connor’s gothic sensibilities and razor-sharp prose, which would it be?

“A Good Man is Hard to Find” is often considered the quintessential O’Connor story, but I’m equally drawn in by “Good Country People” (halfway through reading I remembered the plot and just thinking about it sent shivers down my spine). But the one that most disturbs me is “A Circle in the Fire” because of its very modern sensibilities of the tendency to let ‘boys be beasts’.

But maybe you have another choice entirely – if so, I would love to know!



Filed under Books, Short Stories, Teaching Literature

2 responses to “How do you choose just one? Teaching Flannery O’Connor’s short fiction

  1. Thanks for the suggestions! I just put a hold on the book at the library – can you believe there is only one copy? In class, we are in the middle of reading Hamlet right now – which I consider a hugely religious work and we discuss the Christian elements a lot, so I don’t think my students would be put off by that. I really appreciate your comments!


  2. I would consider Everything that Rises Must Converge. It is very accessible, very funny and the tragic end is very revealing for an adolescent in tension with their parents. There is so much to Flannery, but I would try to find one the student will somehow relate to. My personal favorites are Revelation and Parker’s Back, but these are very religious which might distract from her genius in a modern secular classroom.


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