The main recurring theme in Flannery O’Connor’s stories is the use of violence towards characters in order to give them an eye-opening moment in which they finally realize their true self in relation to the rest of society and openly accept insight into how they should act or think. This theme of violence can clearly be seen in three works by Flannery O’Connor: A Good Man is Hard to Find, Good Country People, and Everything That Rises Must Converge.
The short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” by Flannery O’Connor, is bombarded with symbolism. In short stories symbolism is the literary element that helps the reader depict the picture and actions in their own minds. Whether it be from characters’ names or the designs on the characters’ shirts, every detail in this story has a purpose.
In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” symbolism is used to foreshadow the actions and portray the actual character of The Misfit. Symbolism is using “a person, object, or event that suggests more than its literal meaning” (“Symbolism” 270). O’Connor uses objects that are not menacing in everyday use and describes them in such graphic detail that it intensifies the terror to come in the story (Kahane). After the family had wrecked, a car comes into view, passes by them, comes
Flannery O 'Connor is a Christian writer, and her work shows Christian themes of good and evil, grace, and salvation. O’Connor has challenged the theme of religion into all of her works largely because of her Roman Catholic upbringing. O’Connor wrote in such a way that the characters and settings of her stories are unforgettable, revealing deep insights into the human existence. In O’Connor’s Introduction to a “Memoir of Mary Ann,” she claims that Christians live to prepare for their death. This statement is reflected in her other works, including her short story “A Good Man is Hard To Find.” After reading “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” many questions remain unanswered
Flannery O’Connor was an American author who often wrote about characters who face violent situations. These situations force the characters into a moment of crisis that awakens or alters their fate. Her short stories reflect her Roman Catholic faith and frequently discuss questions of morality and ethics. O’Connor’s Catholic upbringing influenced most of her short stories, often accumulating criticism because of her harsh portrayal of religion. O’Connor incorporates the experience of a moment of grace in her short stories to contribute to the meaning of her works and to represent her faith.
Many had their own opinions of O 'Connor 's work. "The literary works of Flannery O 'Connor often contend that religious belief can only be consummated by direct confrontation with evil and for those uncommitted and unprepared, tragedy seems inevitable." (Cook Online). Many of the early critics never realized that O 'Connor 's worked with revelation, which at the time, others did not (Reagan Online). As Frederick Asals once said, "Conflict, often violent conflict, is the very center of Flannery O 'Connor 's fiction"(93). Although O 'Connor 's work was awarded greatly, it was also often "dismissed" because of its "Gothic Violence" (Reagan Online). I have to agree with Dorothy Walters when she says, "...nothing is more striking than her remarkable capacity to blend the comic and the serious in a single view of reality." (13).
Good and bad. Right and wrong. Guilty and Innocent. These are just a few of the many themes that surround everyone's life. Everyone has their own opinion about certain issues, and they depend on their values, judgment, and beliefs to see them through their difficulties. Flannery O'Connor was quoted as saying "I see from the standpoint of Christian orthodoxy. This means the meaning of life is centered in our Redemption by Christ and that what I see in the world I see in relation to that" (Contemporary Authors 402). These themes are present in O'Connor's story "A Good Man is Hard to Find." The story is about a grandmother, a "good" woman who goes on
The author of two novels and multiple classic short stories, Flannery O’Connor is widely regarded as one of the greatest fiction writers in American literature. However, as a Southern and devoutly Christian author in the 1950s, O’Connor was often criticized for the religious content and “grotesque” characters often incorporated into her works. They were considered too “brutal”, too “sarcastic.” (The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O 'Connor). O’Connor begged to differ.
Jamie Fader’s book Falling Back which was published in 2013, is based on ethnographic research over three years, from 2004 to 2007, of black and latino males on the edge of adulthood and that were incarcerated at the Mountain Ridge Academy reform school located in a rural area: “within a dense forest in western Pennsylvania, is Mountian Ridge Academy … ninety-acre campus contains eight dormitories, each of which houses thirty-two young men between ages 14 to 18” (p.1). The criminal thinking approach was intended to help young people identify the patterns that had led them to delinquency and replace it with corrective and prosocial thoughts. These young boys had been involved in drug offenses and violence within their suburban communities and were now in the process of behavioral change in order to help them reflect and be able to make better decisions which would lead them to a better life.
In "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," Flannery O'Connor represents her style of writing very accurately. She includes her "themes and methods - comedy, violence, theological concern - and thus makes them quickly and unmistakably available" (Asals 177). In the beginning of the story O'Connor represents the theme of comedy by describing the typical grandmother. Then O'Connor moves on to include the violent aspect by bringing the Misfit into the story. At the end of the story the theme changes to theological concern as the attention is directed towards the grandmother's witnessing. As the themes change throughout the story, the reader's perception of the grandmother also changes.
O’Connor first expresses her views in her short story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by using the literary element of point of view. Point of view is an important literary element in O’Connor’s short story, because it expresses her views on the grandmother and her “role as grace-bringer” (Bethea 2006). Point of view is expressed in her story by the main character the grandmother, a woman who lives with her son and tries to convince her family to go to Tennessee to avoid the Misfit. Point of view is especially important in this story because it lets the reader know what the grandmother is thinking and her actions that involve the main conflict of the short story. For instance, in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, the
Flannery O’Connor’s philosophy of writing was directly related to her life and roots as a Southerner, a Catholic, and a woman. One of the Southern traditions that O’Connor used most in her writing was local customs and manners which make people laughable. “Exaggeration of characteristics and of incidents is one cause of our laughter in O’Connor’s stories” (Grimshaw 89). She would regularly expose the hypocrisy of character’s thoughts by exaggerating their ridiculous actions in moments of distress causing readers to feel both horror and humor at the same time. Also present in most of O’Connor’s work, is her Catholic faith with regards to her vision of grace and the devil. Her view of faith was complete in the sense that it had a beginning, middle, and end, but she wrestled with Protestantism and depicted hypocrisy and intolerance when she found them (Grimshaw
Brutality, humor, religion, and violence are a few themes portrayed throughout many of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories. In many of her short stories, O’Connor exposes the dark side of human nature and implements violent and brutal elements in order to emphasize her religious viewpoints. In the short stores “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “Revelation”, O’Connor explicitly depicts this violence to highlight the presence and action of holy grace that is given to a protagonist who exudes hypocritical qualities.
To the uninitiated, the writing of Flannery O'Connor can seem at once cold and dispassionate, as well as almost absurdly stark and violent. Her short stories routinely end in horrendous, freak fatalities or, at the very least, a character's emotional devastation. Working his way through "Greenleaf," "Everything that Rises Must Converge," or "A Good Man is Hard to Find," the new reader feels an existential hollowness reminiscent of Camus' The Stranger; O'Connor's imagination appears a barren, godless plane of meaninglessness, punctuated by pockets of random, mindless cruelty.
Author Anthony Di Renzo notes the effectiveness of O’Connor’s use of thematic revelation.Rather than opposing one another, good and evil instead exist as “equally odd, equally absurd, and equally shocking” (122).The good and evil ironically converge to relay the message of grace, common throughout her works. O’Connor wanted her stories “to reach the unbelieving reader,” and the shocking aspect of the grotesque was the most effective way to reach him/her (Hawkins 28-29).