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Flannery O Connor


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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 got into mind, and I almost felt like a psychologist while reading his monologues. He lost himself within himself. I almost couldn’t really discern what his motivation behind killing and being the archetypal villain in this story was. Did he blame his family for being who he turned out to be? Or was it more of a “blame the system” and their faulty ways kind of twist? I liked the complexity and the fact that he didn’t really care what happened to this family because his consistency in being the “wronged one” was seen from the very moment he started speaking. Unexpectedly, one motif that I caught while reading A Good Man Is Hard to Find is the imagery and descriptiveness for most of first half. “The children’s mother still had on slacks and still had her head tied up in a green kerchief, but the grandmother had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim and a navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print.” O’Connor’s writing style does become more pronounced as the story goes on but from the very beginning the outcome from what her writing portrays becomes more and more significant. Not only does the tone include a certain time period in our history when mannerly ladies found it alright to call an African-American child a “pickaninny” to her grandchildren, but the dialect imbued in The Misfit smoothed the lines of characters that were well-rounded. That is why I can admit that Flannery O’Connor knows how to write and how to weave her uniqueness flawlessly into a story, but the mixing of tragedy and comedy was not successfully done.

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