If at all possible, the activities outlined in this lesson plan should be combined with a visit to Andalusia, the home of Flannery O’Connor.
U.S. Highway 441 North
Flannery O’Connor is one of the great American writers of the twentieth century. In spite of challenging circumstances, O’Connor created a body of work that is quite impressive considering that she only lived to be thirty-nine. The fiction of Flannery O’Connor examines human nature with a fierce moral vision, using an unconventional approach to explore concepts such as original sin and the presence of grace. With vivid imagery, clever satire, and a twist of irony, O’Connor takes her readers to an often surreal world inhabited by prophets, criminals, fanatics, and good country people. Many of her characters have their most fundamental beliefs and assumptions shattered, often through violent encounters, which ultimately leads to transformation and even enlightenment.
GRADE LEVELS: 9-12
Students will be
introduced to the general themes of this short story and will examine
O’Connor’s use of both humor and violence to develop the plot and deliver
the startling conclusion.
Role Play (Duration approximately 30 minutes)
Divide the class
into three separate groups. Students may create comic dialogue to
illustrate tension between three different generations confined in a small
space for an extended period of time, such as the experience in the car with
the grandmother, her son and daughter-in-law, and her grandchildren.
Students should concentrate on the possible interests, priorities, and
perspectives of the different age groups.
Follow Up Questions (Duration approximately 20 minutes)
class discussion of the role play with questions such as:
Have you ever
experienced this type of situation, perhaps on a family road trip?
What are the
sources of tension that tend to arise in these situations?
Why are family
members sometimes more irritating than friends or acquaintances?
Do you think
vacation trips are different now than they were in the 1950s when O’Connor
wrote this story? How?
O’Connor use this situation to reveal the personalities of her characters,
especially the grandmother?
Vocabulary in Context (Duration 30 minutes; this activity could be a
homework assignment combined with class discussion)
and work with new vocabulary words taken from the short story. Students
examine these words with synonyms and antonyms and with critical thinking
RESEARCH SOURCES IN PRINT
- Brinkmeyer, Robert. The Art and Vision of Flannery O'Connor. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.
- Cash, Jean W. Flannery O’Connor: A Life. Knoxville, TN: The University of Tennessee Press, 2002.
- Desmond, John. Risen Sons: Flannery O'Connor's Vision of History. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1987.
- Flannery O'Connor, edited by Harold Bloom (Chelsea House, 1986).
- The Flannery O'Connor Bulletin, vols. 1-26/27(1972-2000), and The Flannery O'Connor Review, vols. 1- (2001- ). Milledgeville, GA: Georgia College and State University.
- Gentry, Marshall Bruce. Flannery O'Connor's
Religion of the Grotesque. Jackson, MS: University Press of
- Gooch, Brad. Flannery: A Life of Flannery
O'Connor. New York, NY: Little, Brown, 2009.
- Gordon, Sarah. Flannery O'Connor: The Obedient Imagination. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2000.
- Gordon, Sarah. A Literary Guide to Flannery O'Connor's Georgia. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2008
- O’Connor, Flannery. Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works. New York, NY: Library of America, 1988.
- O’Connor, Flannery. The Habit of Being: The Letters of Flannery O’Connor. Selected and edited by Sally Fitzgerald. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1979.
- Whitt, Margaret Earley. Understanding Flannery O'Connor. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
- Wood, Ralph. Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2004.
RESEARCH SOURCES ON THE WEB
GEORGIA PERFORMANCE STANDARDS
- Language Arts: ELAALRL1; ELAALRL2; ELAALRL3; ELAALRL4; ELAALRL5; ELA8R1(a,g,h); ELA8R4(a-g); ELA8RC1; ELA8RC2; ELA8RC3; ELA8RC4
- Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.
- Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.
- Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).