Christian Imagery in the Short Stories of Flannery O'Connor

Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English and Linguistics

Department Chair or Program Director

Richards, Gary

First Advisor

Dr. Gary Richards

Major or Concentration



Texts across all genres of literature often rely heavily on references to Christian theology to convey religious concepts. This project explores allusions to Christianity in twenty-five short stories by Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964), a Catholic writer from Georgia. The project culminates in a website that contains all of my research. Using three translations of the Bible as well as a myriad of literary criticism, I construct analyses for each story that begin with biographical context and a publication history before providing detailed explications of theological references in approximately 3,000 words. In addition to these analyses, the website offers digital access to a biographical sketch of O’Connor, an explanation of six stories purposely omitted from this project, and an abundance of supplemental, research-based information regarding Catholicism and Protestantism as well as additional religious references and tools for doing Biblical research. The primary goal of the research contained in the website is to deeply examine where, why, and how O’Connor incorporates allusions to Christianity, specifically exploring the overall function of these allusions in the texts. Recognizing that many religious references in literature go unnoticed, the website also serves as a tool for contemporary students of literature who are interested in the religious themes of O’Connor’s short stories but who may not possess sufficient background knowledge of Christian theology to make clear sense of the allusions. Therefore, the website provides accessible explanation, analysis, insight, and additional source material to direct further research.