A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Violent Nature Of Flannery OConnorr's Novel
A Good Man is Hard to Find dramatizes what happens when an escaped convict, and his companions murder an entire family as a result of a thousand mistakes of an antiquated and prejudicial Grandmother. The author establishes the Grandmother as a nervous and confused character who often wonders why tradition and the old way of life could not have been preserved. Extremely selfish and vain, the Grandmother also demonstrates obvious class and racial prejudice both through her actions and words, yet an entire lifetime of prejudicial perceptions and attitudes is erased by the end of the narrative when she comes to the realization that she is, indeed, helpless in the face of violence.
Moreover, the discriminatory views that she has towards inferiorities directly relate to the shocking behavior of the Misfit. What is so fascinating about this short story is that OFlannery wrote during a time in which the violence and general nastiness of her characters were often not admired coming from a ?lady writer (Flaig). The theme of violence serves the purpose of violence is to, finally, make the Grandmother see just how hateful her bias towards others really is, as it is only when her entire family is murdered that she can create any meaningful connection with another person and accept the grace of God. As such, it is through violence that the Grandmother ironically experiences a rebirth as she realizes that it is the very bigotry she conveyed throughout her life that incites the Misfits to murder her family. The violence is, thus, used to critique society and is base for the redemption that the Grandmother experiences by the end of the short story, as it hints how Christianity profoundly influenced OConnorr’s writings.
The short storyr’s false and extremely unrealistic plot figure in the authorr’s ability to mock society and develop the themes of redemption and forgiveness achieved through the encounter of violence. A family comprised of a husband and a wife, their two children, and a grandmother, who also sneaks her cat into a basket, all embark on a road trip to Florida even though the grandmother makes loud efforts to change the road trip to Tennessee rather than to Florida. She also tells her family about the Misfit, a serial killer who she claims is on the loose in Georgia, which means that they will be traveling right into his path of violence. Upon stopping at a barbecue joint that Red Sammy owns, Red Sammy discusses how two men had previously stolen some gas from him for their Chrysler, asserting that a good man is hard to find (OConnor).
The Grandmother feels jubilant and takes pleasure in another person feeling mournful about the present, and expanding nostalgia about the past. While the family continues their road trip, the Grandmother convinces both the son and the father to go down a side of the road since she is convinced that there is an old plantation there that possibly has a treasure, an idea that the kids are attracted by. After unsuccessfully searching for the plantation, the grandmother suddenly remembers that the plantation she is thinking about is not even in Georgia but rather is located in Tennessee, which causes her to startle the cat in the basket, which in turn causes a car wreck. After the family climbs out of the car, injured, dazed, and confused, only to see another car carrying the Misfit and his cronies; although everything is initially okay, the criminals ultimately murder the family after the grandmother claims that she recognizes them. Ultimately, everyone but the cat is murdered by Misfit and his partners. The entire plot presents a sarcastic view into American society during the period of time in which the short story was written, and it was through the grandmotherr’s discussion with the Misfit about her life that she actually evolves as a person and moves towards redemption.
The Grandmother character undergoes a profound character transformation in the face of violence, which is why her character deserves a closer examination to better understand how violence brought about her rebirth after a lifetime of prejudice and strict devotion to an old way of life. She constantly expresses her frustrations with the world in which she lives, and her words, combined with her inability to articulate her perceptions and feelings, portray her quite despisable to the reader. As Claire Katz states, words themselves, when they are tools of intellect and not magical incantations, are presented as worse than meaningless, a preparation for actions never taken, a symbol of naivete if not cowardice (Katz 66). Indeed, the grandmother demonstrates this attribute, as she provides a never-ending commentary of the weather and the scenery as the family drives to Florida. None of her other family members care about the information that she gives, as the two children are preoccupied with their comics while the wife dozes off (OConnor 650). More significantly, the Grandmother attributes morality in what people from her generation would do, thereby believing her nostalgic opinions are more important and supreme over those of her family (650). The entire story presented demonstrates the Grandmotherr’s racism and classism that indirectly frames her as a whiner who deserves no pity or mercy. Yet, in the face of violence, the Grandmother undergoes a profound transformation that conveys a message about the power of forgiveness and salvation in the face of violence.
Critics have described A Good Man is Hard to Find as a sarcastic and brutal representation of the murder of an entire family that embodies the Christian realism that influenced many writings of Southern authors. In her book entitled Writing Against God: Language as Message in the Literature of Flannery OConnor, Joanne Halleran McMullen asserted that the main characters in the short story”the grandmother and the serial killer”are unnamed and are referred to by what they are rather than who. McMullen writes: [The Misfit] has no Christian name; it is his depravity that has become specifically ?incarnate in OConnorr’s world (McMullen 20). It is only at the end when the Christian belief of grace manifests in the final scenes of the short story that the Grandmother attempts to touch the Misfit, but he flinches in the same way a person would if they were bitten by a snake. McMullen points out that this action alludes to a biblical symbol that is contradictory to grace. OConnor herself described the Misfit in a lecture that she delivered as being a prophet gone wrong who would have transformed into an actual prophet had he accepted the touch of the grandmother. However, it is hard to catch sight of this in the story the way it is written, since there is very little context for such interpretation.
Nonetheless, as McMullen notes, the characters in this short story appear only as humans who have personalities that deserve the readerr’s or even the authorr’s consideration, sympathy, or even dislike. Carol Kaplan states that at the moment of death [the grandmother] truly embraces the Christian mystery in her triumph. Although, in Christian terms, such a moment is always a gift, it is one for which the recipient has prepared throughout her life (Kaplan). In the face of violence, it is the maternal compassion that the Grandmother possesses that ultimately leads to her moment of revelation in which she realizes that she is part of the reason the Misfit has turned into a murderous psychopath (Kaplan). The mixture of Christian symbols and themes further contribute to the idea that violence”like the ever-present violence in the Old and New Testaments before humanity became redeemed, and Christ was redeemed”marks a rebirth. It took the Grandmother being directly confronted by violence and the thought of her death before her stubborn ways changed, and she found grace.
The violent nature of Flannery OConnorr’s A Good Man is Hard to Find, is enhanced as a serial killer, nicknamed the Misfit, who lacks any emotion, murders an entire family. Despite the bizarre and seemingly unrealistic plot, it becomes clear that the author uses violence, gore, and shock to critique society through her examination of the theme of redemption by exposing the readerr’s own bias to and cravings for violence. While it may seem contradictory to include so much violence in a story about redemption and salvation, the Christian religion itself helps makes sense of OConnorr’s approach to the short story, as violence forms the foundation of Christianity as perceived in the crucifixion of Christ. With violence and sacrifice comes redemption even though the Grandmother is ultimately murdered as well.
Problems In A Good Man is Hard To Find
A Good Man is hard to find is a short narrative which was written by Flannery OConnor (1953). The story focuses on a family who faces difficulty in agreeing with one another on where to go for a vacation. The grandmother wants the family to take a trip to Tennessee, but the other family mothers ignore her request and protest to take a trip to Florida.
The real journey can be said to take place in their family lives. An important question came up in the story What is the definition of a good man and how they are few of them left in the entire world? Most of the character in this story linked themselves to goop people based on their codes of moral they stand for and by. The characters are blinded by their deeply flowed moral codes because of their own self- virtue.
Grandmother is the main character in the story because she gives the audience the exact definition to be a lady. Grandmother recognizes herself to have the best values because she is a Christian woman. During the entire trip she completely overdresses in a navy straw hat and collars and cuffs, so that if there were an accident, people would know she was a lady (368). The author affirms how she looks down to other people such that she criticizes the mother for not talking children on a trip to different places during vacation and also tells John Wesley to respect his parent and native state. Her definition of a good man is overflowed because she would marry Edgar Teagarden because he was rich. She asks Misfit to pray for himself when he is killing her family members. Ironically, she does not beg Misfit to spare her family members or even pray for them, yet she sees herself to be a good manse is more concerned about saving herself you wouldnt kill a lady would you (373) instead of her family.
Misfit in the course of the narrative remains to be a mystery character. He is a murder and an escaped convict who is believed to be heading to Florida just like the grandmotherr’s family. He comes across the family after their car crash, He (Misfit) want to help them fix their car and send them on their journey. The Grandmother upon seeing him, she remembers seeing him on a newspaper and shouts he is the Misfit, his plans had to change and had to kill every member of the family. He carries a conversation with the grandmother and affirms that he does not seem to seen actions regarding Right and wrong because Im not a good man, but Im not the worst either (374). The attitude of Misfit towards morality makes him depict of the title that a Good Man is hard to find. Despite acknowledging to praying to Jesus, he went ahead and shot the grandmother. Misfit might have changed after this encounter and started seeing actions as right and wrong.
Bailey is the son of the grandmother and father to John Wesley and John Wesley. He is a frustrated individual with a constant disturbance from the family, and he is not interested in what they want. He shows no original thought and follows them to Florida. He reluctant to take the trip but does not voice his reasons, because he seems an irritable and weary figure worn out by the constant family conflict I wouldnt take my children in any direction with a criminal like that a loose in it. I couldnt answer to my conscience if I did (346). During the encounter with Misfit, Bailey is unable to rescue her family leaving them to die.
In conclusion, I learned that people believe to be the center of the universe and do not always to those around them. The characters had a flawed definition of a good man, and the family should be able to make a candid decision as a group. Every individual in the family was selfish and ignored the input of others. The killing experience portrays the real title of the short narrative that a good man is hard to find.
Imagery In A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Flannery O’ Connor, was a strict Catholic from Georgia, O’ Connor often displayed a sense of spiritual corruption within the characters in most of her stories. One of O’ Connor’s well known stories, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” has a lot of imagery and foreshadows toward the characters who sadly meet never make it to Florida, yet instead meet their bloody end to a man named The Misfit. The grandmother was the one sign of foreshadowing within the novel as she stated on the first page.
There are also shown foreshadowing in the graveyard with there being 5 to 6 graves. The last sign of foreshadowing shown was as they were walking around they saw 6 columns.
The Grandmother was the first to do any foreshadowing within the novel. She stated to John Wesley and June Star Yes and what would you do if that fellow, the Misfit, caught you? Even though she warning of the Misfit, her activities various signs of foreshadowing of their inevitable encounter with the Misfit. The grandmother warned about the Misfit in the first paragraph of the story: “`Here this fellow calls himself the Misfit is loose from the federal pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people.’” This was the first sign of an obvious Foreshadowing within the novel itself. The grandmother is very hypocritical when it comes to following through with what she says or doing what she states to other people as she was the one who said Florida was dangerous. As the one who states such valuable information to the people you love you still disregard it and go to Florida to avoid being left behind.
There were about six graves fenced in, which was a major indication of foreshadowing. John Wesley asked about where the plantation was, the grandmother replied, “Gone with the Wind,” which was foretelling their demise. Red Sammy also narrated about “Two fellers come in here last week” in an “old beat up car.” These people were the Misfit’s goons, and they were offered free gasoline from Red Sammy’s store, probably because of his fear that he was dealing with notorious killers. Red Sammy’s wife also gave a warning by saying, “I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he didn’t attack this place right here.” This was a self-explanatory caution signal gave by the store owners which was ignored. The family was in a town named as “Tombsboro,” which name itself was a sign of foreshadowing.
When the family finally meets the Misfit, he arrives in a hearse like vehicle which is foreshadowing death. The hearse is used to bring move coffins from place to place, while the misfit is considered the bringer of death within the story as all the death seems to come from him. Red Sammy tried to warn the family that the misfit may be in the area as the name of his restaurant is also the name of a card that represents warning and Sammy let two guys who were the misfit’s goons fill up gas on credit.
This short story has many signs of foreshadowing within it that if known by the family could have been essential. The grandmother was the base off all the foreshadowing by talking about what if they ran into the misfit, which later occurs. There is also the graves and columns which just so happen to have the exact number for each of the family members. These are just a few of the examples of the foreshadowing that happens within the book of things that take place to the family until their death which I feel was undeserved.