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Paper On Good Man Is Hard To Find English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1439 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Flannery O’Connor was put in the category of being a southern writer. Most of her stories were written in a southern gothic style which is writing that focuses on strange events, eccentric characters, and local color to create a moody and unsettling depiction of life in the American South. In one of her most famous short stories “A Good Man is Hard to Find” she depicts these characteristics to create a story were she uses symbolism and irony to reflect on her southern lifestyle and how she grew up. She grew up with two Roman Catholic parents and at the age of 15 she lost her father to lupus. “O’Connor always saw herself as writing from an explicitly Christian point of view.” agreeing with Ann D. Garbett’s point of view, in O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” the misfit speaks about how he doesn’t know for sure whether Jesus really raised the dead. He uses this as an excuse not to feel bad about killing people. The grandmother tells him he is a good man trying to stop him from killing her but instead enrages him even more.

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O’ Connor started out writing newspaper articles, she was always an avid writer since childhood. She went on to further her studies in Iowa at the University of Iowa’s writer’s workshop. She started publishing her own stories at the age of twenty one. When she was twenty five she was diagnosed with lupus. This had an impact on her writing because she left were she was living to go and live with her mother. She feared she had 3 more years to live like her father: “Violence is often an element in O’Connor’s stories; in fact, she once said that her own faith made her conscious of the constant presence of death in the world, and her illness must have had the same effect.” She continued writing thoroughly and her dealing with the disease at the same time may have had an impact of the deaths in the story. When O’Connor moved back home to her dairy farm she raised and tended a variety of birds and kept up a complicated regimen of treatments for her lupus she was interested because as a child she attended parochial school and early developed an interest in domestic birds and poultry, which she recalled to in her later writings.

Symbolism is when the author uses an object or reference to add deeper meaning to a story. Symbolism in literature can be subtle or obvious, used sparingly or heavy-handedly. An author may repeatedly use the same object to convey deeper meaning or may use variations of the same object to create an overarching mood or feeling. O’Connor includes several symbols in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” For example, skies and weather are always symbolic to O’Connor, and she often uses such descriptions to reveal a character’s state of mind. The skies at the end of the story is cloudless and clear, which means the grandmother died with a clear vision of her place in the world. Also the grandmother’s hat, which she wears to let everyone know that she is a lady. It represents her misguided moral code. When the grandmother prepares for the car trip with the family, she dresses up to be prepared for a car accident so that anyone seeing her dead body would know that she’d been a lady.Another form of symbolism is the old house the grandmother wanted her grand kids to go see. What the old house represented is that the grandmother wanting to live in the past, and she also believes that the people were much better than they are today. However the grand mother told her son that the house was in Georgia, but the whole time the old house was in Tennessee. It’s a realization that symbolizes that one’s perception of the past is often distorted. This focus on a distorted past leads the family directly to their ruin; they have been sidetracked by a past that did not exist.

Irony is a literary device that is used to impart that things are not what they seem; the simple meanings of the story’s words betray an idea that is actually contrary to what has been stated. There are three types of irony. Verbal irony is when an author says one thing and means something else. Dramatic irony is when an audience perceives something that a character in the literature does not know. Irony of situation is a discrepancy between the expected result and actual results.

Flannery O’Connor uses irony as a main function to tell the story. Irony occurs with the grandmother’s assurance that she does not want to go to Florida where the misfit is heading. I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that a loose in”. The grandmother is once again the one that leads her family to being killed. After the grandmother convinces the family to go see an old house and then later realizes that she is in the wrong state putting her family in danger. When they got in to a car accident in Tennessee that’s when the grandmother found out it was the misfits they got into a car accident with. The verbal irony is that after the car accident June Star got out and said, “But nobody’s killed. If the grandmother pretended she did not recognize the misfits she could have saved her family from being killed. “But it would have been better for all you, lady, if you hadn’t of recognized me”, that’s what the misfits had said. A Good Man is not shown good by outward appearance, language, thinking, but by a life full of good actions, that what the grandmother failed to realize. When the misfits were killing her family she asked the misfit would her kill a lady and he said no. we know that the misfit only goes by one moral which is meanness and he follows it all the way. Unlike the grandmother she proves to be flimsy and inconsistent. The grandmother has built her moral code on the characteristics that she believes make people “good. Despite her professed love for Christian piety, she herself is unable to pray when she finds herself in a crisis and even begins to question the power and divinity of Jesus. The dramatic irony is that the grandmother thinks that the man is not going to kill her but the audience all ready know she’s going to die.

“In contrast to her basically satiric view of human characters, O’Connor’s physical descriptions of people and landscapes are often serious, dramatic, and weighted with symbolism.” Her background and lifestyle had an impact on her writings and her success.

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