In “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”, O’Connor introduces the reader to a family representative of the old and new Southern culture. The grandmother represents the old South by the way in which she focuses on her appearnace, manners, and gentile ladylike behavior. O’Connor writes “her collars and cuffs were organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady”(O’Connor 118). In this short story, “the wild diproportion of the terms, the vapid composure that summons up the ultimate violence only to treat it as a rare social opportuinty, and the cool irony with which O’Connor presents the sentence makes it both fearful and ludicrous”(Asals 132). The irony that O’Connor uses points out the appalling characteristics of the grandmother’s self-deception that her clothes make her a lady and turns it into a comic matter. Flannery O’Connor goes to great length to give the reader insight into the characters by describing their clothes and attitudes. The fact that the grandmother took so much time in preparing herself for the trip exemplifies the old Southern tradition of self-presentation and self-pride. The grandmother takes pride in the way she presents herself because she wants everyone to know that she is a “lady”.
Bailey’s, the grandson’s, family repre...
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...ition, she presents the reader with the differing generations of the old and new south, and she illustrates the contrasting views between the two. O’Connor is not afraid to question Christian theology or the Southern culture. Her irony and satire add depth to ther stories, and her deep cultural analysis of the South brings a higher level to her writings. O’Connor also explores the concept of fallen human nature and how it is brought about. Overall, O’Connor’s works prove to be very in depth in both her social and cultural analysis of the South. She is not afraid to critique the society in which she grew up and lived.
Asals, Frederick. Flannery O’Connor: The Imagination of Extremity. Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 1982.
Bleikstan, Andre. “The Heresy of Flannery O’Connor”. Critical Essays on Flannery O’Connor. Ed. Melvin J. Friedman and Beverly Lyon Clark. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1985.
Friedman, Melvin J. Introduction. Critical Essays on Flannery O’Connor. Ed. Melvin J. Friedman and Beverly Lyon Clark. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1985.
O’Connor, Flannery. The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor. New York: The Noonday Press, 1971.
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