Thursday, April 9, 2009

Flannery O'Connor

Before I went on medical leave, Johann asked me if I had read any Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964). The answer was no, but he piqued my interest by telling me that she raised peacocks! I have since read - and am still mulling over - one of her short stories, and an essay she wrote, called "The King of the Birds," the latter supplied by my boss Jim Schaefer. Several interesting facts came to light, including the coincidence that O'Connor's first pair of peafowl were shipped by train from Eustis, Florida - the next town over from my current location. From the age of 5, O'Connor had been collecting chickens and mentions in the essay that she favored those with two different colored eyes, or crooked combs, or overly long necks. She wanted one with 3 legs or 3 wings, "but nothing in that line turned up." She mentions the rooster that had survived after his head was cut off, "but did not have a scientific temperament." Her pair of peafowl soon became a flock, however, and she characterizes them beautifully:
While O'Connor never got a 3-legged chicken, she did end up with a 1-legged peacock when one of them lost a foot in the mowing machine...

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