Clerihew: Flannery O’Connor

Image credit: Cmacauley

Flannery O’Connor
Had a death sentence upon her:
Though it’s tough to discuss,
Yet sometimes it’s lupus.


    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says



  1. To “A.” November 10, 1955

    …I have decided I must be a pretty pathetic sight with these crutches. I was in Atlanta the other day in Davison’s. An old lady got on the elevator behind me and as soon as I turned around she fixed me with a moist gleaming eye and said in a loud voice, “Bless you, darling!” I felt exactly like the Misfit and I gave her a weakly, lethal look, whereupon greatly encouraged, she grabbed my arm and whispered (very loud) in my ear. “Remember what they said to John at the gate, darling!” It was not my floor but I got off and I suppose the old lady was astounded at how quick I could get away on crutches. I have a one-legged friend and I asked her what they said to John at the gate. She said she reckoned they said, “The lame shall enter first.” This may be because the lame will be able to knock everybody else aside with their crutches.

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      A great catch, Ellen! Funny that O’Connor compares herself to the Misfit, foreshadows the title of ‘The Lame Shall Enter First’, and makes reference to a friend with the same handicap (same physical handicap, anyway) as Hulga from ‘Good Country People’. Where was this letter published?

      • Matthew Lickona says

        The Habit of Being. Also, the Library of America’s O’Connor: Collected Works, which is a fine volume.

        • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

          Brilliant, cheers mate.

          • I missed that foreshadowing, Angelico. Thanks. Yes, I love this passage, and what a wonderful photograph. We too often see her looking only stern and dour. I love the smile, which conveys what comes across to me so often in her letters: humor, levity.

            • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

              Her unusual sunniness in this photo really struck me, too. A flash of the joy that is requisite for sainthood?

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