A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O Connor Essay Example
A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O Connor Essay Example

A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O Connor Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (1084 words)
  • Published: April 17, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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Published in 1955 as part of her short story anthology of the same name, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor quickly gained recognition for showcasing the author's unique characteristics and traits. These include violent action, skillfully crafted characters, and a devout Roman Catholic ethos. Critics appreciate how O'Connor injects her Catholic convictions into the story to underscore the significance of God's grace in the lives of ordinary people.

The main point of this paper is that the author's use of symbolism throughout the story represents themes of faith (or lack thereof), death, and societal breakdown. Symbols in the story specifically relate to faith (or the absence of it) and death. For example, the family's deviation from the main road onto an insignificant side road where they are ultimately murdered symboli


zes how humans often stray from Jesus and pursue the wrong spiritual path. Additionally, the grandmother's belief that the old plantation is located in Toombsboro (a town in the story) is a symbol of death.

In my opinion, the grandmother got sidetracked at this point, just like her faith in Jesus. Meanwhile, while they were in the car, June Star and John Wesley played a game of guessing the shapes of clouds. The clouds represent the grandmother's shallow faith. In the story, the grandmother wore a purple flower spray, just in case she died. To me, this suggests that she did not take death seriously. It was only when she thought she was going to die that she started desperately preaching the gospel to the Misfit.

During the story's conclusion, the skies were clear, signifying the absence of clouds. All characters and items in th

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narrative represent symbols. I believe that the grandmother, the story's sole dynamic character, serves as a symbol for those who have repented. As the author implied, the story represents a spiritual journey spurred by the grandmother's struggles. At first, the grandmother fixated on superficial and worldly concerns, excessively worrying about others' opinions of her.

According to the story, the grandmother adorns herself with white organdy collars and cuffs trimmed with lace, as well as a purple cloth violet spray containing a sachet, so that if she were to die on the highway, bystanders would recognize her as a lady (O'Connor 138). This act of dressing up for a car journey reflects the grandmother's desire for others to perceive her as a lady in the event of a car accident where she is thrown out of the car and lies on the road. This underscores the human tendency to be overly self-conscious on a daily basis.

The topic at hand is females and make-up; an example of how individuals care about how they are perceived by others. Additionally, the grandmother's selfishness is displayed because she prioritizes her desire to visit her friends in Tennessee over what is best for her family. Another symbol in this story is The Misfit, representing a judgment nearing its end.

The Misfit is like a mirror in the story, reflecting what the grandmother says. Despite her claims and arguments, he never agrees or disagrees with her. Ultimately, the Misfit is the one who murders the grandmother. As stated by him, "She would have been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of

her life," (O'Conner 152).

The author's sentiment may reflect her thoughts on most people or her perception of God's feelings toward us. The final stage of the grandmother's story is her redemption as she sees The Misfit as similar to herself. This realization means that The Misfit is not defined by his social status but is a fellow human being like the grandmother.

The grandmother acknowledges her place in society and realizes that her class is not a product of her own creation. Instead, society determines the class, and she simply belongs to it. She expresses this by claiming that The Misfit could easily be one of her own beloved offspring, indicating that he represents a new generation of well-intentioned yet misguided young individuals.

The grandmother represents the older generation's detachment from religion, portraying a missionary perspective. The plot involves a conversion of someone to a stronger faith, influencing the reader's transformation through the author's intentions. The author uses characterization to show a breakdown of discipline and respect in society, with the message spanning from past to present generations. O'Connor likely aimed to provoke her readers, causing them to reevaluate their personal spiritual ideas and principles in "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

Although the grandmother upholds the tradition of Southern Hospitality, representing the past, I personally believe that The Misfit's character is a result of the breakdown in family values and humanity, which are often lost in today's culture. The theme of the story, portrayed in the title "A Good Man is Hard to Find," is consistently reinforced throughout, with The Misfit, the grandchildren, and even Jesus Himself playing a role. Ultimately, however, the

theme persists that even in Jesus it can be challenging to find a good man due to The Misfit's senseless comparison of himself to Jesus leading to his murderous rampage.

It is possible that O'Connor wrote her story with the aim of converting those who have not fully embraced Christianity, as she was a devout Christian herself. Her writing may have been intended to encourage individuals who were not following Christian principles to reconsider their beliefs. In addition, O'Connor was deeply troubled by the values and attitudes of the younger generation during her time. It can be argued that she felt that Christ was no longer a priority for people of her generation, thus making the story an expression of the author's concern and apprehension regarding the values and priorities of the 1940s.

To recap, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is a well-crafted narrative that blends religious motifs with elements of suspense. Although the conclusion may not catch readers off-guard, it remains impactful given the story's brevity. Despite seeming improbable upon closer examination, the work as a whole proves intriguing and gripping for individuals of any faith background. This particular piece stands out as O'Connor's most frequently included in anthologies and her most celebrated and acclaimed composition. Much like her other tales, it delves into characters' intimate spiritual convictions while also addressing their greatest hopes and anxieties.

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