Flannery O’Connor Short Stories

This page contains a list of Flannery O’Connor short stories in alphabetical order of the first word of the title, excluding “A”, “An” and “The”.

Flannery O’Connor was a master of the short story. Admittedly, her stories are not for everyone, but if you like her work, even the longest ones are well worth reading.

There’s a short teaser for each story. I’ve included links for online reading and an approximate word count where possible.

The Artificial Nigger | 8,900 words

Mr. Head takes his ten-year-old grandson, Nelson, on a trip into the city. He wants to teach Nelson that the city isn’t a great place, so he will be content to live his life in the country.

“The Artificial Nigger”

The Barber 

While a man gets his hair cut, his barber ridicules his liberal views, especially his support of a black candidate in the neighborhood.

“The Barber”

A Circle in the Fire | 7,600 words

Mrs. Cope owns a large farm. She is protective of her property and feels she is good at handling whatever comes up. One day, three boys visit her; the father of one of the boys used to work for Mrs. Cope. That boy, Powell, remembers the farm and has been telling his friends about it. They want to enjoy farm life for a while.

“A Circle in the Fire” (Page 167)

The Crop

While doing her daily chore of wiping the crumbs off the dining table, Miss Willerton thinks about ideas for a story. She settles on writing about a sharecropper because it’s an arty subject with social implications.

Read “The Crop” (Page 46)

The Displaced Person | 17,300 words

A Polish refugee and his family arrive at Mrs. McIntyre’s farm to work for her. The man, Mr. Guizac, proves to be an industrious and efficient worker. The Shortleys, a couple who also work on the farm, become concerned about their position. Mrs. McIntyre rules over her little domain, managing her affairs to give herself the most profit.

“The Displaced Person”

Enoch and the Gorilla 

A famous gorilla from the movies is making a tour of some small theatres. Enoch Emery goes to meet it, with the plan of insulting it. When he gets embarrassed at the event, he decides to do something about it.

“Enoch and the Gorilla”

Everything That Rises Must Converge | 6,500 words

Julian, a young man, accompanies his mother on a bus ride. It is the 1960’s South, and she doesn’t like riding alone because of integration. She is poor but is proud that she comes from a once prosperous pre-Civil War family. She also brags about her son to those nearby.

“Everything That Rises Must Converge”

The Geranium | 5,000 words

Old Dudley leaves his boarding house in the South to live with his daughter in her New York apartment. Dudley is unhappy with the change, and spends a lot of time looking out the window at a geranium on a neighboring windowsill.

“The Geranium”

Good Country People | 8,800 words

A travelling Bible salesman visits a farm owned by a woman who has a daughter with a prosthetic leg. He is invited to stay for dinner.

“Good Country People”

A Good Man is Hard to Find | 6,550 words

An extended family is headed to Florida for a vacation. The grandmother wants to go to Tennessee instead, so she talks about an escaped murderer – The Misfit – who is suspected to be on his way to Florida.

“A Good Man is Hard to Find”

Judgement Day 

Tanner, an elderly white man from the South, goes to live with his daughter in New York. He thinks he knows how to deal with African-Americans, but when he tries befriending one of his daughter’s neighbors, things go wrong.

“Judgement Day” (Page 534)

The Lame Shall Enter First 

A boy is in mourning over the death of his mother while his father is focused on helping others. He takes a special interest in a certain troubled child, inviting the boy to stay in their home.

“The Lame Shall Enter First” (Page 450)

A Late Encounter with the Enemy | 4,300 words

General George Poker Sash is a 104-year-old American Civil War veteran. He gets invited to attend some events because of his age and veteran status. His granddaughter, 62-year-old Sally Poker, prays that he will live to attend her college graduation so everyone will see she has a superior background.

“A Late Encounter with the Enemy” (Page 146)

The Life You Save May Be Your Own | 4,800 words

An old woman and her daughter live on a run-down farm. The woman hires a drifter, Mr. Shiftlet, to do work around the place in exchange for shelter. She’s angling to marry off her daughter to him.

“The Life You Save May Be Your Own”

Parker’s Back | 8,200 words

Parker is dissatisfied with his life. He’s not sure why he’s still with his wife – a deeply religious woman – and she’s pregnant. His main focus has been to get tattoos; there’s no room left on the front of his body. While driving a tractor, he has an experience that proves to be a turning point for him.

“Parker’s Back”

Revelation | 8,700 words

Mrs. Turpin and her husband are in a doctor’s waiting room.  Mrs. Turpin is racist and judgmental, and she attracts the attention of a young woman, who looks at her intently.

“Revelation”

The Train 

Haze, nineteen, is travelling by train to Taulkinham. The porter reminds him strongly of a man he used to know; he might even be the man’s son. He tries to find a way to talk to him.

Read “The Train”

The Turkey

Ruller, a young boy, is playing outside when he catches sight of a wild turkey in the bushes. He starts fantasizing about how impressed everyone would be if he caught it. He sees the turkey is injured and decides to go after it.

Read “The Turkey” (Page 55)

Wildcat

There are reports of a wildcat loose in the area. The young men are planning to hunt it down, while “Old Gabriel”, an elderly, blind man, is afraid of being attacked by the cat, which he claims to be able to smell.

“Wildcat” (Page 39)

O’Connors excellent essay on writing short stories can be read here.


As I read more Flannery O’Connor short stories they will be added to this page.

product

 

The Complete Stories | Flannery O’Connor

If you love O’Connor’s stories and want to read them at your leisure, this is probably the collection for you.

This volume contains all of her short stories, from her genesis as a writer thru her prime as a short story master.

There are 31 stories and the collection is 550 pages.

I have this collection, so if you want to know anything about it, feel free to ask below.

4 thoughts on “Flannery O’Connor Short Stories”

  1. It would be great if you could add some of O’Connor’s essays on writing from her book Mystery and Manners, the essay entitled, “Writing Short Stories” in particular, as I cannot seem to find a copy of it anywhere. Thanks!

    1. Sean,
      O’Connor’s Writing Short Stories can be read here.
      I don’t categorize essays here but since I love Flannery O’Conner and this essay, I will add it to the page.
      Thanks for visiting.

  2. Thanks for posting the stories and the quick descriptions. I just recently read a biography of Flannery O’Connor and wanted to read some of her work. Google brought me to your site and I was able to start reading immediately. I would be curious to hear which short stories you would recommend to read first. I read Artifical N____ last night and loved it.

    1. Lisa,
      All of O’Connor’s best known stories are great. You can’t go wrong with “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, “Good Country People”, or “The Lame Shall Enter First”.
      I also really like “Judgement Day”, and my favorite is “Revelation”.
      Thanks for visiting.

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