“The outline of his skull under his skin was plain and insistent.”

“The boy didn’t need to hear it.  There was already a deep black wordless conviction in him that the way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin.”

“Later he saw Jesus move from tree to tree in the back of his mind, a wild ragged figure motioning him to turn around and come off into the dark where he was not sure of his footing, where he might be walking on the water and not know it and then suddenly, know it and drown.”

“She had on a pink nightgown that would better have fit a smaller figure.”

“The black sky was underpinned with long silver streaks that looked like scaffolding and depth on depth behind it were thousands of stars that all seemed to be moving very slowly as if they were about some vast construction work that involved the whole order of the universe and would take all time to complete.  No one was paying any attention to the sky.”

“You act like you think you got wiser blood than anybody else,” he said, “but you ain’t!  I’m the one has it. Not you. Me.”

“He had the feeling that everything he saw was a broken-off piece of some giant blank thing that he had forgotten had happened to him.”

“He had wise blood like his daddy.”

“Her name was Maude and she drank whisky all day from a fruit jar under the counter.”

“Well, I preach the Church Without Christ.  I’m member and preacher to that church where the blind don’t see and the lame don’t walk and what’s dead stays that way.  Ask me about that church and I’ll tell you it’s the church that the blood of Jesus don’t foul with redemption.”

“Nothing matters but that Jesus was a liar.”

“Nobody with a good car needs to be justified.”

“I like his eyes,” she observed.  “They don’t look like they see what he’s looking at but they keep on looking.”

“Sometimes he didn’t think, he only wondered; then before long he would find himself doing this or that, like a bird finds itself building a nest when it hasn’t actually been planning to.”

“His resignation was perfect.”

“He looked like an ex-preacher turned cowboy, or an ex-cowboy turned mortician.  He was not handsome but under his smile, there was an honest look that fitted into his face like a set of false teeth.”

“He had a winning smile and it was evident that he didn’t think he was any better than anybody else even though he was.”

“It don’t make any difference how many Christs you add to the name if you don’t add none to the meaning, friend.”

“No truth behind all truths is what I and this church preach.”

“In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.”

“Enoch was usually thinking of something else at the moment that Fate began drawing back her leg to kick him.”

“This was the virtue of Hope, which was made up, in Enoch, of two parts suspicion and one part lust.”

“The puddles on the sidewalk shone and the store windows were steamy and bright with junk.”

“He might as well be one of them monks, she thought, he might as well be in a monkery.”


Copyright Flannery O’Connor, 1949, 1952, 1962, 1968, 1980 and 1985.

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Author bio:  https://www.britannica.com/biography/Flannery-OConnor