, Research Paper
Let’s take a look at “A Good Man Is hard to Find”.O’Conner really puts the reader in the middle class mode and trough’s a little religion at us . In this I mean that she really took us to a important part of her mind and writing. One mite say that she lets the Devil come out in her own little way.
In reading ” A Good Man is Hard to Find” O’Conner puts me in a setting of a lower middle class family with a domineering mother, grandmother and a whinny mother-in-law. I tend to believe that O’Conner want’s her to be the main character. I would say the grandmother is representative of godliness and Christianity. I haven’t read a lot of O’Conner’s writings. However just from this one story I get the feeling that she could be telling of the changes that took place in the US after W.W. II when violence began to grow rapidly. In the 50’s crime was on everyone’s mind and in the newspapers. I feel that this story reflects how O’Connor’s view that society was drastically changing for the worse. O’Connor’s obvious displeasure with society at the time could have been attributed to her Catholic religion !
O”Conner was trying to put the question of Religion to the reader. What I mean by this is, What has happened to the World ? Here you have a dear old lady just trying to get her only son to take her where she wants to go. Consider the Christian idea of evil as opposed to a divine nation of the “good.” I noticed how the characters usually are acting from good intentions, attempting to inflict their ideas of what is “good” on the less fortunate . She shows us how violent the recipients of this “good” can become and how they resist it and react to it , Religion that is. Who was the momentary messiah, the-on-the-spot-Jesus the Judas mother giving up her son in hopes that she might live? These are questions I thought O’Connor was asking in “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”
Grandma, I believe it is all her making and doing. She brought the family to the situation. She provoked the Killer. The killer’s statements about his life especially his own father reflects he too was subject to religious questions. and the fact that the lifestyles of the southern whites were descending is evidence of society’s “demise” is blended into the story, and presented through an interesting generation gap.
The gap to me is between the son, mother, kids and killer. The Son was a whimp and a momma’s boy I could sense that from the start. The Son pays little attention to the grandmother and when he does he is often quite rude. I guess that is how his generation acted in those days and time.
The unruly children are representative of the breakdown of respect, and discipline, and are consequently a forecast of future generations. The way they treated the old woman was just like their parents. I feel that they are giving the parents a little taste of their own medicine.
The Misfit represents evil. At one point the Misfit likens himself to Christ, in that they both were punished for crimes they did not commit. Christ accepted death for the sins of all people, however, and not only did the Misfit not do that, but he also killed other innocent people. Near the end of the ordeal, the grandmother recognizes the shirt the Misfit has put on as her son’s shirt. Upon observing this image, she realizes that to be truly Christlike, she is going to have to forgive the Misfit and accept him as a child of God. I think O’Connor was trying to show how deeply concerned with the values and the direction of the youth of that time. She may have started believing that Christ was no longer enough of a priority to the people of her generation.
If I look at the quote from O’Conner “My subject in fiction is the action in theory is held largely by the devil” I strongly feel she was talking about this particular story. O’Conner portrayed the grandmother as a God fearing woman and the “Misfit” as the tyranny of all evil. Maybe O’Conner was trying to tell us that It doesn’t matter what kind of life you lead , or what kind of religion you accept if you push the issue it will blow-up in your face.
Sylvan Barnet, Mortom Berman, William Burto, Marcia Stubbs
Literature for Composition Essays, Fiction,Poetry,and Drama.
Harper Collins college Publishers