Essay, Research Paper: Good Man Is Hard To Find By O`Connor

Literature: Flannery OConnor

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The story "A Good Man is Hard to Find", is story that tells us how the
society is worsening. After I read the story and from the lecture I heard, I
kind of had a feeling that the author O'Connor was trying to describe the
outcome of the false christian when they encounters the bad situation. When the
grandmother encounters with the Misfit, we begin to see just whether the
grandmother had faithful christian or not. In the story, there are many symbols
and foreshadowing used by O'Connor to show the characterization of the
grandmother and the outcome of the story. It begins with the dress she wears to
the trip. Although the grandmother did not want to go to Florida, she ironically
dresses in her Sunday best. She was dressed in "A navy blue straw sailor
hat... with a navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print". A
strong foreshadowing imagery can be read into these lines. Knowing the definite
ending of the story, the grandmother's complicated dress symbolizes a
preparation for her coffin. When a person dies, they usually are dressed in
their best outfit, just like the grandmother was dressed in what seemed to be
her Sunday best. A stronger foreshadowing is when O'Connor states the reason for
the grandmother's very clean dress, "in case of an accident, anyone seeing
her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady." She
herself predicts her own death. Unfortunately, she doesn't know this yet. It is
interesting that in the grandmother's mind wearing her best clothes prevent any
misgivings about her status as a lady if she was to die. It seems that the
grandmother was prepared for death, her behavior when she encounters the Misfit
shows herself to be the least prepared for death. Another strong forshadowing
image is when the family "passed by a cotton field with five or six graves
fenced in the middle of it, like a small island". The number of graves
matches the exact number of people in the car. There are 5 people and a baby.
Since a baby is not exactly a full complete person, the number of graves being
"five or six" is appropriate. Furthermore, this particular
foreshadowing image leads directly into the next one. When John asked what the
plantation was, grandmother said "Gone With the Wind". The
grandmother's reference to the plantation as "gone with the wind" can
be seen as an image symbolizing the family's death and their souls are
"gone with the wind" as well upon death. Through out the story, there
were many more image symbolizing the death of the family. For example, the name
of the town where the Misfit kills them is "Toombsboro." If you divide
the word Toombsboro into two words, it sounds very similar to Tombs and Bury.
Another quite interesting imagery is when the grandmother asks the Misfit,
"What did you do to get sent to the penitentiary that first time?" His
answer further foreshadows the death of the family. He says, "'Turn to the
right, it was a wall, looking up again at the cloudless sky. Turn to the left,
it was a wall. Look up it was a ceiling, look down it was a floor" This
description, although used for a jail cell, it could also apply to a tight
grave. Wherever a soul looks, they will see a wall, indicating where the
grandmother will be once the Misfit is finished with them. The outcome of the
story was that all the grandmother's beauty, nice dress, and her social
standards that determine her idea of goodness became useless in front of The
Misfit. At this urgent moment, all the grandmother's actions were everything
that would save her life. I think both the grandmother and The Misfit do not
understand the meaning of life. The grandmother believes that she is a good man
because she says she believes Jesus even though she has no faith in Him. All her
faith is just talking, and she never experiences it. She does not know what she
is saying. Although she is not very bad, she would change her character at once
if she encounters a situation that she couldn't handle it. She will do
everything that may change the mind of The Misfit so that he will not kill her.
After I read the story, I kept wondering why the title of the story was "A
Good Man is Hard to find". The story does not tell the reader exactly what
a "Good Man" would be. I believe everybody had good and bad inside.
Also everybody has his or her own interpretations of "Good Man",
therefore, nobody can say if a person is a good man because some might think
that person is bad. Most people think that a person is good if he is nice,
good-looking, and polite. What we have to know is that whether that person is
reflecting with love or just acting. People do not look at what is inside the
heart, and how he treats people. They judge a person by the first impressions as
the grandmother does.
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