A Good Man Is Hard To Find Symbolism Essay

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The symbolism in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” truly represents Flanner O’Connor’s writing style and underlying theme. O’Connor exhibits the theme of religion in many of her works as she has written a majority of her stories “in the depth[s] of her Christian faith” (419). Having a strong Catholic background, O’Connor displays aspects of religious symbolism combined with her fascination of “grotesque incidents and characters” (420). In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Connor embodies the theme of religious symbolism through the setting as well as the main characters of her work, the Grandmother and The Misfit, as a glimpse of hope in a gruesome, sinister story. The audience first encounters religious symbolism through the setting of the story. A family decides to vacation in Florida, and they come across several interesting locations on the way. While driving, the family passes by “a large cotton field with five or six graves fenced in the middle of it” (422). The family consists of six members: Bailey, his wife, the Grandmother, and three children. With six members journeying in the car, the six graves symbolize the unfortunate death of the family that takes place at the end of the story. The cotton field surrounding the graves could be a symbol encompassing two major elements that relates with the demise of the family. The color of cotton is white, and the white cotton field could represent death. The color white, in Catholicism, symbolizes death because it is a closer step to eternal life in Heaven. White can also symbolize purity in Catholicism since O’Connor believed that “human beings are created by God with innate goodness and freedom, not natural depravity” (Leigh 365). Once humans gain eternal life in Heaven, the... ... middle of paper ... ...at matter can be a means of grace” (Hendricks 9). Through her use of religious symbolism, O’Connor’s character of The Misfit gives her audience hope that a gruesome character could find grace, but consequently, he fails to recognize grace when it appears in front of him. Through O’Connor’s religious background, the audience must closely analyze the true message of her story through her symbolism. Her shocking and grotesque ending of the short story challenges individuals by questioning what is good and what is evil. O’Connor’s symbolism found in her setting and main characters truly embody her view of modern society. She uses these elements as a representation for the realistic paths individuals struggle to choose between: the path involved in sin concerning money, good looks, and pride or the path towards God concerning morals, values, and respect for humanity.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how flanner o'connor's symbolism in "a good man is hard to find" represents her writing style and underlying theme.
  • Analyzes how the audience encounters religious symbolism through the setting of the story.
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