The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.

— Flannery O'Connor

The most delicious Flannery O'Connor quotes to discover and learn by heart

You shall know the truth, and it will make you odd.


Right now the whole world seems to be going through a dark night of the soul.


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.


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.


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.


[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 . . .


Once the process [of conversion] is begun and continues. are continually turning inward toward God and away from your own 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.


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.


I don't deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.


I use the grotesque the way I do because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear.


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


Conviction without experience makes for harshness.


About Flannery O'Connor

Quotes 256 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Author
Birthday October 16

Total non-retention has kept my education from being a burden to me.


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.


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.


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.


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.


To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.


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.


Sickness is a place, ... and it's always a place where there's no company, where nobody can follow.


It's easier to bleed than sweat, Mr. Motes.


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.


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


One of the awful things about writing when you are a Christian is that for you the ultimate reality is the Incarnation, the present reality is the Incarnation, and nobody believes in the Incarnation; that is, nobody in your audience. My audience are the people who think God is dead. At least these are the people I am conscious of writing for.


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.


You have to quit confusing a madness with a mission.


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.


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


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


Go warn the children of God of the terrible speed of mercy.


Many of my ardent admirers would be roundly shocked and disturbed if they realized that everything I believe is thoroughly moral, thoroughly Catholic, and that it is these beliefs that give my work its chief characteristics.


Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.


The only way to the truth is through blasphemy.


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.


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.


...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.


If there were no hell, we would be like the animals. No hell, no dignity.


I suppose half of writing is overcoming the revulsion you feel when you sit down to it.


I am not afraid that the book will be controversial, I'm afraid it will not be controversial.


Even a child with normal feet was in love with the world after he had got a new pair of shoes.


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.


Unadaptability is often a virtue.


I am very handy with my advice and then when anybody appears to be following it, I get frantic.


All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless and brutal.


Success means being heard and don't stand there and tell me that you are indifferent to being heard. You may write for the joy of it, but the act of writing is not complete in itself. It has to end in its audience.


I distrust pious phrases, especially when they issue from my mouth.

I try militantly never to be affected by the pious language of the faithful but it is always coming out when you least expect it. In contrast to the pious language of the faithful, the liturgy is beautifully flat.


The writer can choose what he writes about but he cannot choose what he is able to make live.


Remember that you don't write a story because you have an idea but because you have a believable character.


Dogma is the guardian of mystery. The doctrines are spiritually significant in ways that we cannot fathom.