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Flannery O’Connor’s 'A Good Man is Hard to Find'

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Flannery O’Connor had her roots set in Milledgeville, Georgia, which happens to be one of many states that when combined, form what is known as the “Bible Belt” of America. In respect to this, O’Connor talks about her beliefs: “This means that for me the meaning of life is centered in our Redemption by Christ and what I see in the world I see in relation to that” (O’Connor 482-483). As O’Connor was a devout Catholic, violence was not a direct preaching, but Joyce Carol Oates writes that “succumbing to the divine through violence . . . is immediate and irreparable” (O’Connor 483). By utilizing the element of setting, to surround the reader in Southern culture and heritage; as well as her blunt use of foreshadowing, to keep the action rising; and a heavy amount of irony, to create a slight comedic relief; O’Connor writes the suspenseful short-story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” and shows how the theme of Redemption – in a religious sense – is woven throughout the story, and shown by the metamorphosis of the grandmother in her last few moments of life. The setting that O’Connor portrays a v. O’Connor gives insight into the life of the family when she writes, “Bailey was the son she lived with, her only boy” (O’Connor 497). The house with Bailey reading the sports, and the mother feeding the baby apricots, it’s almost utopian, but the grandmother is the wrench in the machine. Being a husband and father of three, and letting his manipulative and conceited mother live with him, is creating tension between the adults, and starts forcing the environment to resonate with a lack of social connectivity in the home. The grandmother, for her own reasons, says to Bailey, “‘Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is aloose from the Fede... ... middle of paper ... ... the grandmother’s head cleared for an instant. She saw the man’s face twisted close to her own as if he were going to cry and she murmured, “Why you are one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” She reached out and touched him on the shoulder. The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest. Then he put his gun down on the ground and took off his glasses and began to clean them (O’Connor 508). In a final moment of clarity, the grandmother becomes possessed by the Holy Spirit in a tantalizing display of the Redemption received. Even though it took her a great of pain and Works Cited O'Connor, Flannery. ""A Good Man Is Hard to Find"" 1953. Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013. 497-508. Print.
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