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Essay on Symbolism in A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor

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Use of Symbolism in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor


"A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor is a short story that depicts a family's vacation to Florida that turned into an abysmal tragedy when they met with the Misfit, a convict who escaped from prison. This story is meant to be interpreted as a parable, whereby O'Connor made skilful use of symbolism to bring about messages such as the class-consciousness and the lack of spiritual faith that exist amongst human.

In this part of the essay, I will show how O'Connor made use of symbolism through her characters to symbolise an abstraction of class-consciousness. The issues of class consciousness was brought up through the rounded character of the grandmother, who is the protagonist of the story. On the surface, we see the characteristics of the grandmother portrayed as a "good" woman, having faith in God and doing right in her live. However, the sin lies within her, whereby she thinks she is better than others around her. Viewing appearance and self-image as important, which is reflected through her gentility, the grandmother wears "white cotton gloves, straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim, navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print and the collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace" (p.2117). Through her attire, the grandmother implies that people who looked at her will know that she is a respectable and noble lady. Repetitive use of the colour white is symbolic as it reflects the way the grandmother perceives and associates herself with - perfection, goodness, and purity. The grandmother also predicts that she would have done well if she had married Mr. Teagarden, "who had died a wealthy man few years ag...


... middle of paper ...


...ation with the Misfit.

"A Good Man is Hard to Find" is certainly a very special story which teaches many valuable moral and religious lessons through O'Connor's explicit use of symbolism to exhibit concerns of the lack of spiritual faith and the class consciousness amongst people. We saw how O'Connor specifically used the grandmother and June Star's character to highlight the people's lack of spiritual faith and class-consciousness. O'Connor also used other symbols such as the colour white, images like clouds and objects like the purple spray of cloth violets to represent various abstractions, which is being discussed this essay, specifically issues on the lack of spiritual faith and class-consciousness that exist in human.

References:

* McMichael, G., et. al., (1993) Concise Anthology of American Literature- 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


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