Flannery O'Connor Quotes

34 Famous Flannery O’Connor Quotes on Truth, Life, and Writing

Known as a preeminent Southern Gothic writer, American author Flannery O’Connor is remembered for her many short stories, a compelling compilation of letters and 2 novels that explore the darkest sides of human nature. Her work displays a brilliant combination of seriousness and wit and continues to enthrall and inspire readers even today. Check out some of the top Flannery O’Connor quotes.

34 Flannery O’Connor Quotes That Express Her Views on Life

Inspirational Flannery O’Connor Quotes

#1. “Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#2. “In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.” ― Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

#3. “I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.” ― Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor Quotes on Truth

#4. “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#5. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.” ― Flannery O’Connor, Collected Works: Wise Blood / A Good Man is Hard to Find / The Violent Bear it Away / Everything that Rises Must Converge / Essays and Letters

#6. “The basis of art is truth, both in matter and in mode.” ― Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor Quotes on Humor and Wit

#7. “She looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#8. “I don’t deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.” ― Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

#9. “‘She would’ve been a good woman,’ said The Misfit, ‘if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.'” ― Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories

#10. “Total non-retention has kept my education from being a burden to me.” ― Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

#11. “The old woman was the kind who would not cut down a large old tree because it was a large old tree.” ― Flannery O’Connor, The Complete Stories

#12. “When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.” — Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor Quotes on Writing

#13. “I am a writer because writing is the thing I do best.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#14. “Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many best-sellers that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#15. “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, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

#16. “Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.” ― Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

#17. “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#18. “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

#19. “People without hope not only don’t write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#20. “The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#21. “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.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#22. “I am not afraid that the book will be controversial, I’m afraid it will not be controversial.” — Flannery O’Connor

#23. “I find that most people know what a story is until they sit down to write one.” — Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor Quotes on Philosophy and Life

#24. “I write to discover what I know.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#25. “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.” ― Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

#26. “If you don’t hunt it down and kill it, it will hunt you down and kill you.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#27. “To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#28. “The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience.” — Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor Quotes on Love

#29. “He loved her because it was his nature to do so, but there were times when he could not endure her love for him. There were times when it became nothing but pure idiot mystery.” ― Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories

Other Flannery O’Connor Quotes

#30. “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” ― Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

#31. “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, Wise Blood

#32. “Only if we are secure in our beliefs can we see the comical side of the universe.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#33. “She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick.” ― Flannery O’Connor

#34. “I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.” ― Flannery O’Connor


Though her writings were highly provocative and not appreciated by all, Flannery O’Connor’s work is considered a substantial contribution to American literature and continues to be discussed and admired for the sheer brilliance that shines through. Read through Flannery O’Connor quotes to discover love, life and philosophy.

Image source: Flannery O’Connor photo from pinterest.com

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