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

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in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" Flannery O' Connor uses symbolism to give more meaning to her short story. O'Connor writes a story of a Grandmother versus a Misfit, or good versus evil. This short story is about a family going to Florida, who takes a turn down a dirt road, which only causes them to get in an accident, and be found by the Misfit. This encounter prevented them from ever arriving Florida, because the Misfit ends their lives. Using symbolism, O'Connor creates a story with much meaning to the Grandmother, nature, sky, woods, their surroundings, roads, and cars to portray the constant battle between good and evil. In "A Good Man is Hard to Find" the Grandmother is a main character that symbolizes a savior. O' Connor describes the Grandmother as a savior with grace, who is saving the Misfit from evil. ." O’Connor determinues that the Grandmother shall be the Misfit’s savior, even though she may not seem so in the story” (Bandy, 151). She reaches out to the Misfit with a "touch of grace" because she is portrayed as the "good character" in the story. The Grandmothers purpose is trying to save the Misfit, or the "evil character." At the end of the story, when she was talking to the Misfit after she realized that he was going to kill her she murmurs, "'Why you're one of my own babies. You're one of my own children!' She reaches out and touches him on the shoulder. The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest" (O'Connor). Here the significance is that the Misfit was offered grace from the Grandmother, but denies it. “When the Misfit shoots the grandmother he is recoiling from whatever grace she offers. He is rejecting not just any warmth conveyed in the touch, but also th... ... middle of paper ... ...993. 31-51. Print. Martin, Carter. "'The Meanest of Them Sparkled'" Beauty and Landscape in Flannery O'Connor's Fiction" Women Writers Texts and Contexts. By Flannery O'Connor. Ed. Frederick Asals. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1993. 127-137. Print. Excerpt from Realist of Distances:Flannery O'Connor Revisited. Ed. Karl-Heinz Westarp and Jan Nordby Gretlund. Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus University Press, 1987. 147- 159. Prunty, Wyatt. “’The Figure of Vacancy.’” Shenandoah 46.3 (1996): 38-55. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 61. Farmington Hill: Gale Group, 2003. 151-159. Print. Raiger, Michael. “’’Large and Startling Figures’: The Grotesque and the Sublime in the Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor.’” Seeing into the Life of Things: Essays on Literature and Religious Experience (1998): 242-70. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec.
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