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Violence in “Hunters in the Snow” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Essay

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Ours is a violent world where even the most common folk can find themselves faced with unspeakable horror through little or no intention. In Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the characters find themselves at the mercy of armed men because of a faulty memory and a few wrong turns. In Tobias Wolff’s “Hunters in the Snow,” a young man winds up shooting his friend in an apparent accident which culminates in a debate between saving that friend or whether it is more important to preserve the self. The stories work together to explore what humans will do when faced with terrible violence.
The story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor is famous for its use of unexpected violence. An unnamed grandmother pleads with her family to take a vacation to Eastern Tennessee, the home of her youth instead of Florida. “Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is aloose from the Federal Pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people” (O’Connor). Here the grandmother does really believe that they will encounter these criminals, but instead tries to impose the fear of potential violence on her family to get her own way. When the grandmother meets Red Sam, she finds something of a kindred spirit, a person willing to judge and discuss disturbing events, even in front of young children. They judge the times based on the violence around them. “Everything is getting terrible. I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched” (O’Connor). The text gives no indication that either has experienced violence first-hand, so their concerns are all based on what they hear on the radio and read in the newspaper.
Once the grandmother has convinced her s...


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...ically wiping out her family. If the others die, so be it so long as she lives, but alas her pleas fall on death ears. Wolff’s story is about three men, hardened by nature, who hunt animals for sport. When violence occurs, they should be more accustomed to deal with it, but they are completely incapable. The feeling of kinship for good friends becomes nothing when there could be potential repercussions for the self. Violence then is not only in the moment of its occurrence, but has lasting effects for all parties concerned.



Works Cited

O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” McMahan, Elizabeth, et al. Literature and
The Writing Process. 9th d. Boston: Pearson 2011. 331-341. Print
Wolff, Tobias. “Hunters in the Snow.” McMahan, Elizabeth, et al. Literature and the Writing
Process. 9th ed. Boston: Pearson 2011. 172-182. Print.


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