Pride is a very relevant issue in almost everyone's lives. Only when a person is forced to face his pride can he begin to overcome it. Through the similar themes of her short stories, Flannery O'Connor attempts to make her characters realize their pride and overcome it.
In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," the grandmother is a typical Southern lady. This constant effort to present herself a Southern lady is where her pride is grounded. She criticizes the mother's traveling outfit, but she herself is wearing a prim and proper-and probably uncomfortable-outfit so that "anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady" (O'Connor, "A Good Man" 382). She recalls exactly how to find a certain plantation she used to visit, and the children convince their father to turn the car around. However, the grandmother realizes that the plantation is in another state but is too prideful to admit so. This pride follows her to the point of grace when The Misfit forces her to see reality.
According to Ellen Douglas, the "evil in human hearts, and the possibility of grace, the gift of love, are made terrifyingly and magnificently real" when the grandmother, at gunpoint, admits that The Misfit really is, in her standards, a good man at heart (381). He is better able to express his beliefs about religion, but she has no firm foundation. When he says, "She would [have] been a good woman, if there had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life," he is revealing the fact that her pride, instead of her faith, has carried her through life (O'Connor, "A Good Man" 392). She has merely acted out the life of a typical Southern lady of he...
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...e. Grace allows this change to happen, but one must be willing to face hardships and difficulties because the road to redemption is narrow and rocky.
Douglas, Ellen. "O'Connor's 'A Good Man is Hard to Find.'" Contemporary Literature Criticism. Eds. Carolyn Riley and Phyllis Carmel Mendelson. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1976. Vol. 6. 381.
Edwards, Jr., Bruce L. "O'Connor's 'Good Country People.'" Masterplots II-Short Story Series. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Pasedena, CA: Salem P, 1986. Vol. 2. 901-902.
O'Connor, Flannery. "Good Country People." Meyer 392-406.
--------. "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Meyer 381-392.
--------. "Revelation" Meyer 407-420.
Meyer, Michael, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999.
--------. "O'Connor on Theme and Symbol" Meyer 423-424.
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