Flannery O’Connor’s Short Story A Good Man is Hard to Find Essay examples

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Flannery O’Connor’s Short Story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”

Flannery O’Connor’s personal views on the justification of religion and the resulting world or corruption and depravity are apparent in her short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. She analyzes the basic plight of human existence and its conflict with religious conviction. The first two-thirds of the narrative set the stage for the grandmother, representing traditional Christian beliefs, to collide with The Misfit, representing modern scientific beliefs. The core of symbolism and the magnet for interpretation is at the end, the conversation between the grandmother and The Misfit. The conversation represents the examination of the clash between animal and metaphysical human
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This is the central dilemma of human consciousness. We are mindful of ourselves but we are also basically animals with violent tendencies and primitive drives. Everyday, these two selves collide. The understanding or awareness of each person demands that we rise above our primeval instincts, and with this demand comes a need for meaning, a purpose beyond the material restrictions of our bodies and the world we see around us. Otherwise all that is left, as The Misfit comments, "'...it's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can--by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness,' he said and his voice had become almost a snarl."

Yet, any belief beyond what we see and what we can touch or hear or smell or feel is just that, a belief. Consequently, any religious or spiritual or anti-religious and anti-spiritual ideology one wishes to take is a leap of blind faith. Eventually, as The Misfit perceives and in due course the grandmother perceives, the world of religious dogma and sacred creed are no match for the systematic observation based and amoral context of the modern world. Thus, we are left with no answer as to the existence of a Supreme Being and with no means to answer that question. Accordingly his frustration is not with Jesus and whether or not He
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