English and Literature
Submitted By J2oSocal
Professor Y. Cooper-Grigg
29 May 2013
Death Is a Catalyst For Characters to Change
This paper is based on Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, a short story. The theme for this research paper will be an analysis of the key characters in the story that are affected and changed by an encounter with death, with a near-death occurrence. The reason for this theme is to bring some significant insights into the literary work in a profound way. The grandmother and the Misfit are chosen to establish the theme in the paper. In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, death is a catalyst for characters to change; some characters are changed positively by their experience with death, while other characters are changed negatively. The Misfit shows why he became evil because his expectation of goodness in the society was put to death by the reality of injustice. In a polite tone, the Misfit explains to the grandmother, “I found out the crime don’t matter. You can do one thing or you can do another, kill a man or take a tire off his car“ (O’Connor 194). This opinion comes from the Misfit serving his lengthy time in jail where he experienced harsh prejudices. The Misfit continues to explain to the grandmother calmly, then came a “piercing scream” from the wood background where the Misfit ordered the grandmother’s family to be killed. Suddenly, Misfit’s tone turned nasty, “Does it seem right to you, lady, that one is punished a heap and another ain’t punished at all” (O’Connor 195)? This scene depicts the Misfit’s true personality; his lack of remorse for the death of the grandmother’s family has made him evil.
The death of the Misfit’s father is the reason that he cannot tell what is good from evil. In fact, the Misfit recalls how his father died, “My daddy died in nineteen ought nineteen of the epidemic flu” (O’ Connor 194). This tone suggests the...