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Deconstructing O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find".

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Deconstructing O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" It is for centuries past that the theme of death and salvation was encapsulated majestically in western literature. Also, it is for centuries that modern writers have refrained from the intervention of such topic into their pieces of work, condemning its solemn repetition and its obsoleteness. However, in the 20th century American literature, Flannery O'Connor has revived the thematic significance of Christian salvation in which death occasionally gets involved. A devout Christian she is, O'Connor combines her profound religious knowledge with her Southern milieu, contemporary violence, and satiric sense of humour, which has emerged mostly in form of the short story, her most celebrated genre. Published and re-published since 1955 is O'Connor's first collection of short stories, A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, throughout which her Christian beliefs have been meticulously patterned. Apart from other short stories that deal with the downfall of pride is "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" whose major concern has been directed toward death and salvation and has been embodied with other minor concerns, such as adults' influences upon children and changing values in American society. ...read more.


Having prepared the ground for the protagonist's cathartic moment, O'Connor then creates a critical moment for the Grandmother in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find", which functions as stimulus for the enlightenment of the central character. Having had an accident on the way to the 'house with a secret panel' and now encountering the Misfit, the grandmother is in the most crucial position that life offers the Christian; she is facing death. She does not really prepare for it and struggles to have the event postponed. Thus, she initiates the conversation with the Misfit, which allows her to contemplate with her own but unrecognized bad deeds and to realize, even in her limited way, that she is responsible for the man before her. O'Connor, before the moment of sudden awareness, lets her heroine digress through her false values. The Grandma's litany of convenient fictions involves class distinction: "I know you're a good man. You don't look a bit like you have common blood", and her shallowness: "You shouldn't call yourself the Misfit because I know you're a good man at heart. I can just look at you and tell". ...read more.


The grandmother's bad influences have, at the end of the story, lowered the Misfit's level of Grace to that of the grandma's at the beginning of "A Good Man Is Hard to Find". "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" is not merely an account of a family murdered on the way to Florida. In it, Flannery O'Connor has cunningly combined her religious beliefs with her contemporary and realistic environment, presented mainly through a female protagonist, an artful grandmother. Her heroine not only makes the reader laugh heartily but thoughtfully. She instills the universal belief of the Christian salvation through the tactful prevalence of humour and bloodshed. O'Connor funny violence in the story is not meant to be the end in itself but a new beginning of an eternal life. 'The man in the violent situation reveals those qualities least dispensable in his personality, those qualities which are all he will have to take into eternity with him' (O'Connor, 'The Element of Suspense in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"' from The Longman Masters of Short Fiction by Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn). The story, thus, reminds the reader of the intrusion of God's Providence and of the accessibility of salvation, which is regardless of time, place and the impurity of one's soul. Poonperm PAITAYAWAT 444 01419 22 ...read more.

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