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A good man is hard to find setting

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JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Many readers are struck by the apparent cynicism of O'Connor's writing. As a narrator, she rarely seems sympathetic to the characters of her story. On the contrary, she seems more interested in bringing out their worst, exposing their superficialities, and then making the reader laugh at them. Sometimes she accomplishes this by being disarmingly upfront, as with many of the grandmother's little manipulations: She knew that Bailey would not be willing to lose any time looking at an old house, but the more she talked about it, the more she wanted to see it once again and find out if the little twin arbors were still standing.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: A Good Man Is Hard to Find, by Flannery O'Connor (Analysis & Interpretation)

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Literary Analysis “Setting” – a Good Man Is Hard to Find

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Many readers are struck by the apparent cynicism of O'Connor's writing. As a narrator, she rarely seems sympathetic to the characters of her story. On the contrary, she seems more interested in bringing out their worst, exposing their superficialities, and then making the reader laugh at them. Sometimes she accomplishes this by being disarmingly upfront, as with many of the grandmother's little manipulations: She knew that Bailey would not be willing to lose any time looking at an old house, but the more she talked about it, the more she wanted to see it once again and find out if the little twin arbors were still standing.

The grandmother, for example: There were two more pistol reports and the grandmother raised her head like a parched old turkey hen crying for water and called, "Bailey Boy, Bailey Boy!

In that passage, for example, the grandmother has just lost all her family members, and is at least we think in a moment of incredible despair. The reader should sympathize with her at this moment.

But she's described as a turkey, in a way that makes her seem gross and funny to the reader—more like a cartoon image than a human being. Does that "dehumanize" her? Does O'Connor show human beings at their comically exaggerated worst, in a way that makes it impossible to feel sorry for them? A lot of people think so, and for that reason Flannery O'Connor's writing has been called "grotesque" source: Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose , p.

By "grotesque," critics mean the people in O'Connor's stories are ugly, gross cartoon figures, rather than real human beings possessing good qualities with which we can sympathize. But O'Connor didn't agree with that label, and thought it reflected a northern bias against the South. She felt that she was being realistic. In O'Connor's opinion, if we're honest with ourselves, the world we live in and the people in it often are like caricatures, and much harder to sympathize with than the people we read about in books.

To keep ourselves sane and humble, we can laugh at them provided we recognize we're just as laughable as everyone else is. But ultimately, the real task is to sympathize regardless source: Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose , p.

So the author's point is, even if the grandmother looks an awful lot like an old turkey at her most desperate moment, we should still sympathize with her.

Instead of looking at her work as grotesque, O'Connor herself called her work "Catholic realism. Southern Gothic combines many of the elements of Gothic fiction with distinctively Southern overtones. Think moldering old mansions Want to know more?

We have a whole Lit Crit guide on Southern Gothic. And we think the definition of the Southern Gothic genre fits "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" like a glove—the tattered lace glove of a disappointed heiress on a haunted plantation.

There's a looming sense of darkness, suspense, and foreboding about the story, which is established right at the beginning when the grandmother reads about The Misfit in the newspaper. And, just to make sure we don't forget about the element of danger, The Misfit is also mentioned at Red Sammy's.

It's even suggested The Misfit might come to that very place. The scenery—the dirt road in the middle of nowhere that's supposed to lead to an old plantation house, the looming forests, the family trapped alone in a ditch—could also be right out of a horror movie. Let's not forget The Misfit himself, who's a terrifying killer without a conscience Finally, although there's not anything obviously "supernatural" in the story a common but not required element of Gothic fiction , there is a potentially supernatural moment of grace.

Plus, the whole sequence of events—ending up in exactly the wrong place because of misplaced memory and a disturbed cat—just feels too convenient for the story to ever actually happen.

That lends it a slightly fantastic feel. O'Connor rejected the label "Southern Gothic" for the same reasons she rejected the idea that her writing was "grotesque" see "Writing Style" for more on this. She associated Southern Gothic—a label commonly associated with William Faulkner's work, and the works inspired by it—with fiction that depicted human "degeneracy" in the South.

Because of O'Connor's religious perspective, she always emphasized that her work was interested more in the light that could come through in moments of darkness, and was meant to inspire hope and meditation rather than horror or disgust. That's why she preferred the term "Catholic realism" to describe her work.

Source: The Habit of Being. The song was a hit when it was first written, but became even more popular as a signature tune by Sophie Tucker.

O'Connor probably expected her readers to know the song, or at least the lyric that comes next: A good man is hard to find You always get the other kind Yup: that certainly seems to be true in this story. The title is also a line of dialogue; it comes into play when Red Sammy and the grandmother are talking about how no one is trustworthy anymore.

Red Sammy makes the assertion that a good man is hard to find, and the grandma heartily agrees. She doesn't, unfortunately, know that she'll "get the other kind" in short order. The big question about the ending—and the one that's kept critics arguing with each other ever since the story was published—has to do with the fact that the grandmother calls The Misfit her child and reaches out to him:.

You're one of my own children! The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest. What does this gesture mean in the context of the story? Unfortunately, we can't exactly answer that for you.

How the ending "feels"—hopeful? So too does the whole "point" of the story. O'Connor wrote the story with a particular understanding of the ending in mind, and it's an understanding that comes from her Roman Catholic worldview. What happens to the grandmother when she reaches out to touch The Misfit is called a "moment of grace" in Catholic terminology—a special kind of gift from God, in which God suddenly fills her with almost supernatural love and understanding.

That enables her to see The Misfit as a fellow suffering human being whom she is obligated to love. Jesus commanded each person to love her fellow human beings like herself, even her enemies. The grandmother realizes that she does in fact love The Misfit just like one of her own children. O'Connor presents both the perception of The Misfit as a fellow human being, and the sudden but real feeling of love for him, as gifts from God.

From the Catholic worldview, the grandmother, as a human being is inclined towards evil, pettiness, and selfishness, so could never have come to feel such love without God's help. This moment of grace is hugely important in the story. The Misfit kills the grandmother, recoiling from what seems so foreign to him, but the grandmother has already had her moment of redemption. She's grown at the moment of death more than she ever did before in her life, and dies with a peaceful smile on her face.

What's more, her act may have changed The Misfit too. At the end, he says she would have been a good woman if he'd been there all her life to shoot her. This is a strange line, but think about what it means.

The grandmother was redeemed by confronting evil in The Misfit, and finding the ability within herself to pity him. The Misfit's response shows that he recognizes her act as goodness, even though he recoiled from it. It's also noteworthy that in his last line he goes from claiming that the only pleasure in life is "meanness" to stating that "[meanness is] no real pleasure in life.

Killing the grandmother gave him no pleasure. Instead it troubles him. In that way, grace has worked on him too, and we might see the beginnings of a deep transformation. For O'Connor, then, the story's ending is hopeful. Some readers maybe you included don't see this as an uplifting ending. You might wonder if the grandmother has lost her senses by the end of the story. It seems like she's starting to lose it when she becomes dizzy and sinks to the floor.

And what of the fact that The Misfit is wearing her son's shirt? This might be what reminds the grandmother of her son, who she's just lost. Perhaps that last gesture results from delusion. If you don't buy the "moment of grace," the story seems cynical, brutal, and bleak. Many readers don't see hope at the end of the story.

And even for those who do believe "the moment of grace" interpretation there are other problems. What, for example, do we do about the rest of the family, who seem to die meaninglessly without any moments of grace? And some have a hard time with a God who only gives people moments of grace right before they die. The ending of the story depends just as much on what's believable to you as a reader as it does on the story itself.

If you believe that a miraculous moment of grace is possible, O'Connor's interpretation might be the most compelling one. If you don't, you will come to your own interpretation.

Whatever the case may be, there's a lot to unpack from the ending of this story. We know that the family begins in Atlanta or the Atlanta suburbs and that they travel a few hours south to the town of Toombsboro, where the grandma convinces her son to take a detour onto a dirt road.

There's plenty of local flavor along the way: we see old plantations, Red Sammy's barbeque joint, and some sights out the window. The second half of the story takes place in the ditch in the middle of nowhere where the family lands after running off the road. We're told the ditch is about ten feet below the road, and lies between the road and a "tall and dark and deep" forest. There's forest on the other side of the road too, so the forest "looms" menacingly over the scene on both sides.

This part of the story is like a staged play: the site of the action doesn't move, the ditch is the stage, and the forest is "backstage," where characters are taken.

We only learn what's going happening from the noises we hear usually screams or gunshots. As for the time, the era of the story is never explicitly defined, but given the cars and the mention of Gone With the Wind published as a book in and released as a movie in , we can guess it's the 's or later.

Since there's no mention of a war going on, and the grandmother says that "the way Europe acted you would think we were made of money" 44 , it's almost certainly after WWII. Since O'Connor wrote this story in , we're going to place it in the late 40's or early 50's.

The particular timing of the story is a more interesting issue. We know that the family leaves their home in the morning, and that they leave Red Sammy's in the "hot afternoon" presumably it's summer. We don't actually know how late it is, though, when they land in the ditch.

A Good Man is Hard to Find Analysis

The rural southern U. She does not often give exact locations, state or town names, but most of these stories take place in a rural landscape and many--though not all--of the main characters are women. Other stories take place in small and mid-sized towns, at a college graduation, and in a city. The title story, O'Connor's most famous, takes place in a number of states, as a family travels by automobile towards a vacation. Though most of the stories are not time-dated, they generally take place in the nineteen forties and early fifties.

The story is firmly set in the rural American South. The characters, particularly the grandmother, are imbued with classic Southern characteristics, and they display an intimate understanding of the landscape of which they are a part. As the family drives south from Georgia to Florida, the grandmother points out all along the way various things about the southern landscape—the kudzu, the plantations that are no more.

The story appears in the collection of short stories of the same name. The interpretive work of scholars often focuses on the controversial final scene. A man named Bailey intends to take his family from Georgia to Florida for a summer vacation, but his mother, referred to as "the grandmother" in the story wants him to drive to East Tennessee , where the grandmother has friends "connections". She argues that his children, John Wesley and June Star, have never been to East Tennessee, and she shows him a news article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about an escaped murderer who calls himself "The Misfit" and was last seen in Florida. The next day, the grandmother wakes up early to hide her cat, Pitty Sing, in a basket on the floor in the back of the car.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find Setting

Literary Analysis Collection 1 Keeping readers on the edges of their seats with intriguing characters and enjoyable story lines makes the readers want to read more. Each of them enhanced conflict, gave understandable characters, and a relatable setting. Rainsford, The Sniper, and the narrator. Literary Analysis Collection 1 Short stories have many different literary elements and, you can compare all of them. All stories have something in common and something different about them, that make them unique. The elements that are the most important are theme, characters, setting and conflict. One of the similarities between The Leap and The Trip is theme. Both stories have a theme. Kino is the main protagonist and is a dignified, hard-working pearl diver that cares very much for his wife and son.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find (short story)

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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