The Self-Deception of Self-Righteousness Essay examples

The Self-Deception of Self-Righteousness Essay examples

Length: 766 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Bible gives a profound warning about self-righteousness. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (I John 1:8). Flannery O'Connor's short story, A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1953), provokes the reader to consider the issue of grace and righteousness. The main character in the story, the grandmother, believes that in her day "people did right" (386) and certainly in her mind, she was foremost the righteous of all. In analyzing the actions of the grandmother, insight is gained about her attitudes and values. It becomes evident by the end of the story that her deliberate choices of dress, her subtle remarks of social prejudices, and her clever methods of manipulation lead her to an awareness of her feigned righteousness and ushers her into a true state of grace.

First of all, appearance in some instances is used as a determinant in deciding if someone is of superior character. The grandmother believes this to be true as seen by the great pains she takes to dress appropriately for the family trip to Florida. Though her wardrobe is one that is not particularly uncommon for the era, a few things are worthy of taking note. For instance, the" white" gloves, the hat with the "white" violets, the dress with the small "white" dots, as well as the collars and cuffs of "white" organdy are indicative of her belief that she is a righteous lady. O'Connor, obviously knowing that white is symbolic of purity and righteousness uses this color effectively to give the reader clues about the grandmother's perception of herself. The grandmother is careful to make sure that she is adorned appropriately just in case anyone sees her dead. If so, they would "know at once that she was a lady" (385). However, upon...


... middle of paper ...


...ly serve to keep her from seeing herself as she really is. The grandmother's manipulation is simply a dishonest approach to controlling her family. In the end these characteristics of the grandmother actually brought her to a place of physical death which is seen as a type of spiritual dying to one's self in order to embrace true righteousness by entering into a state of grace. Some insight can be gained from the Misfit's brief commentary on the life of the grandmother. "She would of been a good woman...if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life (395).

Works Cited

O'Connor, Flannery. "A Good Man Is Hard To Find." The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002. 384-395.

The Holy Bible. Iowa Falls, Iowa: World Bible Publishers

Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. 1977 ed.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Mask Of Deception, By Nathaniel Hawthorne And The Play Othello By William Shakespeare

- The Mask of Deception All humans wear a mask of some kind; whether it is a false representation varies from person to person. This reality is revealed in poetic fashion in the piece “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar; the short story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and the play Othello by William Shakespeare. While all in different genre’s, they all contain the similarity of deception and creating a mask for the rest of the world to see in order to hide their true self. In the story “Young Goodman Brown”, Goodman Brown experiences everyone around him wearing the mask of Christianity and holiness, and he therefore loses his own faith....   [tags: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown, Othello]

Good Essays
1044 words (3 pages)

Iago As A Liar And The Father Of All Lies Essay

- “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of all lies” (John 8:44). This excerpt from The New Oxford Annotated Bible identifies the devil as the root of deceit; in Shakespeare 's Othello, deceit is the tool antagonist Iago uses to corrupt his companions. The portrayal of Iago in Othello reflects that of Satan in The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Iago reflects Satan in that he deceives his victims, manipulates his victims ' actions, and causes his victims to harm and condemn themselves....   [tags: Deception, Lie, Othello, Devil]

Good Essays
1311 words (3.7 pages)

The 's Talk : Function Of Self Deception Essay

- Triver’s Talk: Function of Self-Deception Triver’s Talk The talk that I attended that was presented by Robert Triver was “The evolution of self-deception”. I personally thought that this talk was very informative. Although the talk was very informative, Trivers spoke in a way that captivated his audience, and allowed us to better understand the topic. Triver brought fresh ideas to the attention of his audience. Self-deception ties back to psychology in the sense that it is a mental state performed by a person....   [tags: Deception, Lie, Truth, Self-deception]

Good Essays
1102 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on Self-rejection and Self-damnation in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown

- Self-rejection and Self-damnation in Young Goodman Brown   In "Young Goodman Brown," the story's protagonist embarks on a metaphorical errand on which he plans to confront the evil within himself. Unprepared to accept this as part of his human nature, he instead rejects it, ultimately prescribing his own doom. The fantastic spirit of Young Goodman's travel is revealed at the story's outset, when he holds an appointment with a mysterious individual and must leave his wife, Faith, behind for the adventure....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Good Essays
1303 words (3.7 pages)

Self-Deception and Absurdity Essay

- Self-deception is described as a strong urge and desire to maintain or defend a belief or idea that one regards to be the truth even while there is strong evidence that the contrary is actually the truth (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Self-deception is “a way we justify false beliefs” and these rationalizations “may even produce it themselves” (Skeptic’s Dictionary; Perspectives, 117). Some views of self-deception suggest that it is an egoistic act, while others do not believe that this is necessarily true....   [tags: Psychology, Self-inflation Bias]

Good Essays
2764 words (7.9 pages)

Deception Is A Fundamental Human Behavior Essay

- Lying the action, we love to hate, but love to do. Secrets, lying, cheating are actions people actively and repeatedly find themselves engaging in. Characteristics of deception are quick to be demonized. The disclosure of any type of dishonesty is viewed as the severest act of betrayal a person can commit to another. Deception is deemed to be the villain in all relationships, the one thing that will destroy any relationship. However, contrary to belief, deception is a fundamental human behavior that maintains intimate relationships....   [tags: Deception, Lie, Interpersonal relationship]

Good Essays
710 words (2 pages)

An Overview Of Deception Literature Essay

- An Overview of Deception Literature Deception is an under-researched and often contentious subject in the world of psychology, with most emphasis being placed on deception detection. Most researchers use the terms “deception” and “lying” interchangeably. Some find it comparable to “manipulation.” Deception has been defined as “an agent act[ing] or speak[ing] so as to induce a false belief in a target or victim” (Hyman, 1989). It is a tactic used to achieve personal gain or an advantage over another....   [tags: Lie, Deception, Interaction, Person]

Good Essays
1345 words (3.8 pages)

Deception, Betrayal, And Defensiveness Essay

- Throughout chapter nine of Bridges Not Walls, the concepts of deception, betrayal, and defensiveness are all explained with a more in depth approach that I had never thought of before. These three concepts are all different, but they can all be tied together in many situations. “Deception can vary from blatant lies to indirect actions such as exaggerations and false implications.” At some point in life, all of us are subject to being involved with some type of deception. In communication, it takes two people in a conversation to co-construct a lie....   [tags: Lie, Deception, Interpersonal relationship]

Good Essays
1423 words (4.1 pages)

Essay about Self-Deception In Engineering Ethics

- Introduction People intuitively have the desire to make things go their way even when they are being put through very difficult situation that require doing something or believing in something that could be out of their hands. They tend to overly hold favorable views of their abilities in such ways that support their views to the extent of self-deception. They allow themselves to believe that a false feeling, idea, or situation is true just so they can achieve a certain goal that they have in mind....   [tags: Space Shuttle Challenger disaster]

Good Essays
1504 words (4.3 pages)

Self Deception Essay

- Self Deception Self deception is the process or fact of misleading ourselves to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid. Self deception, in short, is a way we justify false beliefs to ourselves. There is no doubt that sometimes we are not realistic. Not all of our actions are rational or intentional. Sometimes we avoid reality, we deny the truth, and we fool ourselves. In some cases we may see the world the way we want to, and not the way it is. Self deception raises basic questions about the nature of belief and the relation of belief to thought, desire, and will....   [tags: Papers]

Good Essays
454 words (1.3 pages)