Free Essay

Flannery O Connor

In: Other Topics

Submitted By cotina1
Words 1211
Pages 5
Cotina Moore
English 1302
Essay #1 Southern Gothic Fiction
02 March 2015
“What Is In A Title”
A Literary Analysis of Flannery O’ Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” “Good Country People,” and “Everything That Rises Must Converge”

“I am not afraid that the book will be controversial, I’m afraid it will not be controversial-Flannery O’Connor
Flannery O’Connor is considered one of the best short story authors of the 20th century. Born in Savannah Georgia in 1925, O’Connor was a devout Catholic. Her writings incorporated religious themes and her southern life (Bio). When reading O’Connor’s short stories, it is very surprising and shocking that the stories are often dark and controversial. Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” “Good Country People,” and “Everything That Rises Must Converge” use macabre, grotesque violence, irony, and grace through the depiction of her characters to illustrate that when an individual is faced with “grave” circumstances; those are the moments when grace is realized. Flannery O’Connor incorporates the use of macabre and violence in her short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” masterfully to elicit an unforgettable moment of grace from a character when faced with her “grave” circumstance. The use of grotesque violence is vividly displayed as a southern family is horrendously murdered by an escaped convict, The Misfit and his accomplices. An “eerie” sense of foreshadowing is realized when the protagonist, the grandmother, tries to dissuade her son, Bailey, through a newspaper article to take the family east to Tennessee instead of Florida. She states, “Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is aloose from the Federal Pen and headed towards Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people”…(O’Connor 422). To further illustrate the elements of macabre and gruesome violence, O’Connor describes the brutal and merciless deaths of each family member. Bailey, John Wesley, the mother, the baby, and June Starr are each taken into the woods and “piercing scream[s] are heard followed closely by pistol report[s].” (432). The grandmother tries to bargain with the Misfit, she pleads with him, to no avail; to spare her life, but attains grace in her final moments. The narrator says “[T]he grandmother’s head cleared for an instant”… She states, Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” (O’Connor 433). Violence is often associated with negative connotations, however, Flannery O’Connor believes, [V]iolence is never an end itself. It is the extreme situation that best reveals what we are essentially… (“Excerpt from “On Her Own Work”; “Passages from Flannery O’Connor’s Essays and Letters” 460).
Many of O’Connor stories infer different types of irony. Through her characters’ actions, O’Connor reveals her “astute observation of the limitations of all human awareness.”… (“Excerpt from “The Author’s Work As Context”: “Flannery O’Connor” Mays 422). The reader sees this with Mrs. Hopewell’s character in “Good Country People.” Because of her bias assumptions of southern people, Manley Pointer, the Bible salesman, is able to convince her that he is “simple” and “good.” The narrator tells us Manley states, “I know I’m real simple… I’m just a country boy. (O’Connor 438). Mrs. Hopewell replies, “Why!” [G]ood country people are the salt of the earth!” (O’Connor 439). On the contrary, Mrs. Hopewell is unaware of Manley Pointer’s true character, which is that of a deceptive con artist. O’Connor’s illustration of situational irony is gleaned when the protagonist, Joy-Hulga’s character, attempts unsuccessfully to seduce Manley Pointer, and tries to “enlighten” him with a “deeper understanding of life.” (442). She, too, does not learn the true nature of his intent until he seduces her instead, and steals her wooden leg. He “enlightens” her and says, “You ain’t so smart. I been believing in nothing ever since I was born!”… (O’Connor 447). O’Connor’s use of irony in “Good Country People” is a direct connection from her religious beliefs. To make her stories work she states, “[I]t is probably some action or gesture which was both totally right and unexpected… [I]t would have to suggest both the world and eternity.” (“Excerpt from “On Her Own Work”; ”Passages from Flannery O’Connor’s Essays and Letters” 460).
O’Connor’s works render an opportunity for characters to achieve “moments of grace”.
In her story, “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” Julian’s and his mother’s character are given such opportunities for grace. Julian Chestny, an unemployed writer, lives with his mother and he considers himself a failure. [“Someday] I’ll start making money, [he] said gloomily-he knew he never would.”… (O’Connor 448). Julian is very bitter at his mother because of her ignorant, oppressive, and bigoted views towards black people. His mother cannot move past the old southern culture she is accustomed to. The narrator tells us she states “Your great-grandfather was a former governor of the state”…[He] had a plantation and two hundred slaves.” Julian replies, [Look around, there are no more slaves.]” (O’Connor 449). The reader sees Julian openly rebels against his mother to annoy her, and he tries to teach her a lesson throughout the story. The encounter on the bus with Carver, the little black boy, is an opportunity for Julian’s mother “moment of grace”. However, her bigoted and condescending views of blacks cause a violent encounter that elicits grace. She gives the little boy a penny and is viciously struck by his mother. She wanders aimlessly for a few moments and says, “Tell grandpa to come get me.” (O’Connor 457). Julian sorrowfully realizes his “moment of grace” when his mother dies. He shouts, [“Mama, Mama! Help, Help! Guilt and sorrow consumes him.”] (O’Connor 458). The extension of grace is given to O’Connor’s characters through dark and disturbing ways but “grace changes us and the change is painful” (qtd in Hill).
Clearly, Flannery O’Connor’s religious beliefs and southern upbringing influence her Southern Gothic writing style. Her propensity for violence, macabre, and morbidity are hallmarks of her style. Indeed, Flannery O’ Connor’s characters in “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Good Country People,” and “Everything That Rises Must Converge” portray all of the aforementioned elements “to help bring life to her characters and add to their humanity.”(qtd in Hill).

Works Cited
Flannery O’ Connor.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 22 Feb.
Hill, Erin. “Southern Gothic Literature.” Course Materials. Blinn College, Bryan, Texas. Feb. 2015.
O’Connor Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” The Norton Introduction to Literature 11th ed. ED. Kelly J. Mays. New York w.w. Norton & Company, 2013 422-433.
---. “Everything That Rises Must Converge.” The Norton Introduction to Literature 11th ed. ED. Kelly J. Mays. New York w.w. Norton & Company, 2013 447-458.
---. “Excerpts from “On Her Own Work”: “Passages from Flannery O’Connor’s Essays and Letters.” The Norton Introduction to Literature 11th ed. ED. Kelly J. Mays. New York w.w. Norton & Company, 2013 419-422.
---. “Good Country People.” The Norton Introduction to Literature 11th ed. ED. Kelly J. Mays. New York w.w. Norton & Company, 2013 433-447.
Mays, Kelly. “Excerpts from “The Author’s Work as Context”: “Flannery O’ Connor.” The Norton Introduction to Literature 11th ed. ED. Kelly J. Mays. New York w.w. Norton & Company, 2013 419-422.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Flannery O Connor

...and "dynamic."  A static character, in this vocabulary, is one that does not undergo important change in the course of the story, remaining essentially the same at the end as he or she was at the beginning.  A dynamic character, in contrast, is one that does undergo an important change in the course of the story.  More specifically, the changes that we are referring to as being "undergone" here are not changes in circumstances, but changes in some sense within the character in question -- changes in insight or understanding or changes in commitment, in values.  The change at stake in this distinction is a change "in" the character of the character. In the stories a soilders home by Ernest Hemmingway and A Good Man is Hard to find by Flannery O connor we see this occur. Many people worry about what happens during war but no one realizes what happens to the young people coming back from war. The young people that go to war will change them dramatically when they come back. In the short story “Soldier’s Home”, by E. Heimingway, he writes about a young man’s after war experience, returning home and into society. In another short story called “Speaking of Courage”, by Tim O’Brien, he too, explores the after effects of war and how it can impact a young person’s life. The short stories, “Soldier’s Home”, by E. Heimingway and “Speaking of Courage”, by Tim O’Brien are more differences than similarities. There are a lot of similarities between the two stories. First of all, both of......

Words: 1906 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Flannery O Connor

...Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find Having a third-person perspective when reading through this short story gave more depth to it than if it were viewed through the eyes of one sole character. Reading the story more than once provided an attention to the irony when O’Connor wrote, “In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady. (267)” That one quote encompasses the genres that the she was trying to portray with this story: tragedy and comedy. I don’t agree that O’Connor did a magnificent fusion of the two in this story, the contradictory tone took away from the overall effect that A Good Man is Hard to Find could have had. Some of the impact that came with having a dual genre was brushed off because of the passivity in The Misfits’ character. The most noticeable shift in the story came out choppily done because of the predictability of what was going to happen. While I can’t argue that the humor was present in the story, I have to comment that it was a more subdued version due to the nature in which the story takes a sharp left turn to. If I had to choose between which of the genres was most prominent throughout the story, I’d have to say that they were almost equally split done the center. There was no merging of the two to have made the author’s effort more recognizable. On a more personal note, speaking as the reader, the more attractive of the two genres was the tragedy because The Misfits’ character...

Words: 562 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Flannery O Connor Character Analysis

...Leez Alkhoury p. 6 Selfish to Selfless Flannery O’Connor’s peculiar short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” portrays an oddly realistic set of characters. A pushy grandmother, her obedient son, his plain wife, and their two rowdy kids are having some kind of family trip, which does not end well (they all die) when they encounter escaped convicts, primarily all because of the grandmother’s manipulative ideas. In O’connor’s exceptional short story, the grandmother’s appalling, yet realistic character is unfolded through the following literary techniques: haughty dialogue, indifferent tone, and evocative imagery. Initially, the consistent snobbish dialogue throughout the short story establishes O’connor’s characterization of a pushy, inconsiderate...

Words: 659 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

A Good Man Is Hard To Find By Flannery O Connor Analysis

...Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, and educated at Georgia State College for Women and University of Iowa. After completing her graduate work at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop in 1947, she live for two years in New York City. However, O’Conner returned to her mother’s farm in Milledgeville, Georgia, when she discovered that she contracted lupus erythematosus, the systematic disease that had killed her father and of which she herself was to die. For the last fourteen years of her life, she lived quiet, productive life on the farm—raising peacocks, painting and writing the extraordinary stories and novels that won her worldwide acclaim. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” describes the tragic fate that befalls a family on its trip to Florida. “Revelation” dramatizes the ironic discoveries a woman makes about the order of thing (683). Racial inequalities blacks faced as they grew up in a white society with strong beliefs that they should be separated. The grandmother in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” wants to take a road trip to Florida knowing that a fugitive is on the loose. This brings about the fate of the whole family. The grandmother seems to be the main character and her son Baily, his wife June Star, 8 year old John Wesley, the young baby and Pitty Sing the cat who no one wants to leave behind. Her only reason to make this road trip is to see...

Words: 1011 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Life That You Save May Be Your Own By Flannery O Connor: Literary Analysis

...German author, Eckhart Tolle once said, “To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” The theme of one gaining salvation and grace through ones actions is evident in many of Flannery O’Conner’s short stories including, The Life That You Save May Be Your Own. O’Conner wrote her short stories so that her characters would come to learn the truth about themselves through an epiphany of self realization and all that they have done wrong and so that each person who was lying to get what they wanted and had hit rock bottom would have a chance at salvation and grace. Though not everyone in O’Conner’s short shotries accepts this salvation and grace. In Flannery O’Conner’s The Life That You Save May Be Your Own, Mr. Shiftlet denies his newly offered salvations even after having his epiphany. In Flannery O’Conner’s The Life That You Save May Be Your Own, Mr. Shiftlet was a character who manipulated his situation to benefit himself by lying to those around him and eventually leading him to have an epiphany of his wrong doings and was offered salvation. When Mr. Shiftlet arrived at the Crater family’s house he had every intention of...

Words: 599 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Wise Blood

...The haunting behavior Flannery O’ Connor creates a fictional world in need of faith. In the book Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor, Hazel (Haze) Motes is a young man that is driven to find Christ in the city of Taulkinham. Who I considerably believe him to be naïve person, because of his innocent, ignorant, and impulsive behavior. Flannery O’ Connor character is spiritual lean and hungry figures that reject lip services to Christianity and the insipid certainty of rationalism in the pursuit of salvation and portrays the moment of grace as an encounter with holiness and as a moment of epiphany and physical and emotional violence as an essential part of one’s transformation and growth. Hazel Motes is usually deprived economically, emotionally, or both and is dwell in a world which, in Flannery O’ Connor’s words, “the good is under construction”. Hazel is someone who dares to dream but shows no remorse towards the faith and belief that other people may have upon Jesus. Nobody seems to be impressed by the power of his words when Hazel Motes says, “Do you think I believe in Jesus?”… “Well I wouldn’t even if he existed, Even if he was on this train” (7). Hazel speaks to Mrs. Hitchcock in the train letting her know, he would never want to be redeemed; “If you’ve been redeemed, then I wouldn’t want to be” (7). His ignorant and stubbornly attitude is always against Jesus that even if he existed and had him in front of him, he still would refuse to believe. His ignorant attitude is...

Words: 1108 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Wise Blood

...The haunting behavior Flannery O’ Connor creates a fictional world in need of faith. In the book Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor, Hazel (Haze) Motes is a young man that is driven to find Christ in the city of Taulkinham. Who I considerably believe him to be naïve person, because of his innocent, ignorant, and impulsive behavior. Flannery O’ Connor character is spiritual lean and hungry figures that reject lip services to Christianity and the insipid certainty of rationalism in the pursuit of salvation and portrays the moment of grace as an encounter with holiness and as a moment of epiphany and physical and emotional violence as an essential part of one’s transformation and growth. Hazel Motes is usually deprived economically, emotionally, or both and is dwell in a world which, in Flannery O’ Connor’s words, “the good is under construction”. Hazel is someone who dares to dream but shows no remorse towards the faith and belief that other people may have upon Jesus. Nobody seems to be impressed by the power of his words when Hazel Motes says, “Do you think I believe in Jesus?”… “Well I wouldn’t even if he existed, Even if he was on this train” (7). Hazel speaks to Mrs. Hitchcock in the train letting her know, he would never want to be redeemed; “If you’ve been redeemed, then I wouldn’t want to be” (7). His ignorant and stubbornly attitude is always against Jesus that even if he existed and had him in front of him, he still would refuse to believe. His ignorant attitude is...

Words: 1108 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Empathy In Flannery O Connor's A Good Man Is Hard To Find

...Creation of Empathy in Flannery O’ Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Through the usage of dramatic irony and person vs society conflict in the short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’ Connor is able to elicit empathy in her story, adding a captivating new level of interpretation. “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” is about a myopic and manipulative grandmother who struggles to live in the present, because her mind is stuck in the past. To the grandmother’s great discontent, she and her family went on a road trip to Florida. In one situation, the grandchildren, John Wesley and June Star, offended the grandmother by talking negatively about Georgia and Tennessee. “If I were a little boy...I wouldn’t talk about my native state...

Words: 690 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Foreshadow The Misfit

...Flannery O’ Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is a short story about a family road trip from hell. Early on in the story, the reader becomes appalled at the complete disrespect the members of the family have for one another, and how their dysfunctional family dynamic contributes to the horrifying trip. From the very beginning, O’ Connor’s tale gives the reader a sense of foreboding as she mentions the crazed criminal named “The Misfit” who recently broke free of the Federal Jail and is working his way to Florida—their destination. O’Connor continues to foreshadow the story’s terrible end when she describes the grandmother’s outfit: “the grandmother had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim and a navy...

Words: 379 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Effectiveness of Juvenile Incarceration

...Eng.120 11/18/10 Research Paper “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” by Flannery O’Connor who is a Southern American novelist and short story writer, O’ Connor’s career expanded in the 1950sand early 60s, a time when the South was dominated by Protestant Christians.O’Connor was born and raised a Catholic. She was a fundamentalist and aChristian moralist whose powerful apocalyptic fiction is focused in the South.Flannery O’Connor was born March 25, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia. O’ Connorgrew up on a farm with her parents Regina and Edward O’ Connor. At the age offive, she taught a chicken to walk backwards. O’Connor attended Georgia StateCollege for women, now Georgia College, in Milledgeville, majoring in sociology.She had showed a gift for satirical writing, as well as cartooning since she wasa child. By the end of her undergraduate education, O’Connor knew that writingwas her true passion. She spent two years at the prestigious School for Writersat the State University of Iowa on scholarship. She received a master’s degree infine arts in 1947. In 1950, she had a near fatal attack of systemic lupus erythematosus, a chronic inflammatory connective tissue disorder that causes periods of joint pain and fatigue, and can attack the hearts, lungs, and kidneys. Her father died of the disease when she was fifteen. She would have to walk with crutches for the rest of her life. By her death at the age of 39, Flannery O’Connor won a prominent place in modern American literature. She was......

Words: 1357 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Essay

...A Good Man Is Hard To Find literary analysis Tracy Wooten Elizabeth Isenkul February 20, 2016 A good man is hard to find is short story written by Flannery O’ Connor. Throughout the entire story O’Connor utilizes irony as a literary element to create multiple facets of her characters in the story such as those of Bailey's mother and The Misfit. O'Connor establishes the foundation of the irony very early in the story when she gives us the reason for the grandmother getting dressed up for the car ride, “In case of an accident anyone seeing the dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (O’Connor, 1993) . Later on in the story this could considered foreshadowing. Throughout the entire story the grandmother judges people either as good or bad solely based on how they look. For example, the first time the reader sees the phrase "A good man is hard to find," the speaker is Red Sam at the roadside barbecue restaurant where the family is having lunch. Just before that, however, Red Sam has described his willingness to allow some strangers to charge gas, and he asks himself the question, "Now, why did I do that?" (O’Connor, 1993). The grandmother's immediate response is "Because you're a good man." (O’ Connor, 1993). She makes this assessment with very little information about Red Sam, not on the basis of any meaningful knowledge about his character. When the grandmother is first introduced to the misfit, she makes one of those same judgments of him......

Words: 784 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Engliah 1a

...Justin Ong Professor Y. Cooper-Grigg English 102 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......

Words: 2400 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Other

...A Good Man Is Hard To Find - Foreshadowing In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," by Flannery O'Connor, one is struck by the unexpected violence at the end of the story. However, if one re-reads the story as second time, one will see definite signs of foreshadowing of the ending. In the course of this story, O'Connor uses strong imagery to foreshadow the people and the events in this story. There are three significant times she uses this technique. They are the description of the grandmother's dress, the death of the family, and the conversation between the Misfit and the grandmother. The grandmother did not want to go to Florida; she ironically dresses in her Sunday best. She was dressed very nicely with, "A navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print. Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet." (11). A strong foreshadowing imagery can be seen in these lines. Knowing the ending of the story, the grandmother's elaborate dress Is this essay helpful? Join OPPapers to read more and access more than 550,000 just like it! ------------------------------------------------- get better grades symbolizes a preparation for her coffin. When a person dies, they are usually dressed in their best outfit, just like the grandmother was dressed in what seemed to be in her Sunday best. A stronger foreshadowing is when O'Connor states the reason for the grandmother's beautiful dress,......

Words: 2075 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Love D'Amour Essay

... 10190 Erin Armstrong 11/23/11 “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson A Life of Crime Isn’t Hard to Find The movie Crime d'amour, (or Love Crime), exemplifies the human ability to manipulate and so deceive oneself of morality, as does O' Connor in "A Good Man is Hard to Find". In regards to the subject of moral judgment, psychologists and scientists alike have been baffled at the way human beings rationalize what behaviour is ‘moral’ or ‘immoral’. Are the things our society encourages us to see as bad concrete rights and wrongs, or does everyone develop their own right and wrongs based on their beliefs? When seeing Love Crime and reading “A Good Man is Hard to Find” I saw prime examples of human beings choosing to react irrationally, and immorally, with cruelty, deception, manipulation, and unfairness. I had the privilege of seeing Love Crime on the big screen at the Loft cinemas, and the experience definitely affected how I was able to picture the movie.......

Words: 2206 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955)

...In Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find", romanticism is the main theme reflected in this story. In this short story, we see O'Connor's views on American values and ideas of romanticism. She supports and refutes the ideas of Edwards, Emerson and Thoreau throughout this short story. O'Connor's idea of respect as an American value is shown with the grandmother and the children's differences and similarities. The grandmother values of respect are shown when she tells her daughter-in-law how her children should act which is respectful and obedient. “In my time,’ She said, the grandmother, folding her thin veined finger, “children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else” (O'Connor225). At the same time the grandmother is hypocritical being that she also disrespected others just like the children. This is showing how O'Connor supports and refutes the American value of respect. Jonathan Edwards' view was that God is very revengeful and bad things happen to bad people. When the grandmother heard the gun shots, she knew she was going to be murdered. Although she keeps praying it didn't make up for the cruel things she said toward others. The only reason she was praying is so that she would be saved, not because she felt bad for what she did. God did nothing to help her, she was being punished and he had no remorse towards her. God showed that he didn't want anything to do with her and felt no kind of love toward her. In this way...

Words: 503 - Pages: 3