A Good Man Is Hard To Find: A Literary Analysis

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When one is encountered with death, life’s meaning is revealed. We infrequently agonize over whether we live a healthy lifestyle until it is too late, as demonstrated in "The Death of Ivan Ilych” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. Both stories allow the readers to learn the consequences of living a completely selfish, non-Christian life. Through death, characters Ivan and the grandmother are encountered with conversion experiences, in which they reevaluate their own lives. O’Conner and Tolstoy exhibited the character’s reevaluation experience through similar themes in each story.
Ivan and the grandmother both lived artificial lives that were based on appearances, shallow-relationships, and egocentrism. Through their obsession with appearances,
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Ivan only marries his wife not because of his love, but because of the acceptance of his social circle. This ultimately leads to a relationship of hatred and unhappiness. For example, the novel states “Having come to the conclusion that her husband had a dreadful temper and made her life miserable, she began to feel sorry for herself, and the more she pitied herself the more she hated her husband. She began to wish he would die; yet she did not want him to die because then his salary would cease”. This quote exhibits the shallowness in their relationship, in which the wife only thinks about Ivan’s salary. In addition, Ivan does not connect with his family, he focuses his attention towards his work, and climbing up the social ladder. Also, his selfishness is exhibited through his sickness, in which he believes he is the only one suffering. A good man is hard to find includes a family with two troublesome kids, the self-serving grandmother, and temperamental father. The grandmother’s egocentrism is exhibited when she sneakily brings her cat into the car (678), repeatedly says “negroe” and “niggers” (679), and does not admit to her fault of wrongfully directing them to a house that was never there (683). Lastly, grandmother does not show any sympathy towards her family, in fact, when the family is encountered with the misfit she only pleads for her own
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