“A Good Man is Hard to Find”, written by Flannery O’Connor, resembles an intricate painting, a beautiful picture built by many different parts. These parts work together to complete a perfect mental picture for the reader. Plot, point of view and character aspect of the short story weave together to allow the author a chance to portray the ideas created just for that purpose. The short story compares to a work of art. It can be seen many separate ways and with many different points of view. The drab picture pulled together by Flannery O’Connor, creatively exposes the reader to the worst possible situation with the colorful tools of twisting plot, complimenting characters and a thrilling point of view.
Weaving the intricate threads of a story together encompasses many aspects and probably most important, plot. Plot allows the reader to experience intensity, excitement and the flow of the story. Flannery O’Connor effectively uses the plot to twist and shape a short story with intense highs and lows. First, the complicating incident allows for some sort of problem in the story to develop. When the grandmother suggests the family change travel plans because of the escape of the Misfit, a cold-blooded killer, the complicating incident evolves with mystery and intense foreshadowing.
Flannery O'Connor: Queen of Irony The literary rebellion, known as realism, established itself in American writing as a direct response to the age of American romanticism's sentimental and sensationalist prose. As the dominance of New England's literary culture waned "a host of new writers appeared, among them Bret Harte, William Dean Howells, and Mark Twain, whose background and training, unlike ...
Flannery O’Connor allows the reader to wonder what the significance of the Misfit will be, creating a complicating incident with ease and no dramatics (O’Connor 359).
As the family drives down the interstate, on the way to Florida, the same destination as the Misfit, they take a detour to a plantation the grandmother remembers from her youth (O’Connor 364).
In a moment of dire realization, the grandmother scares her cat, which causes the father to lose control of the car and roll it several times rendering the family helpless (O’Connor 364).
The reader’s heart rate jumps in worry about not so much the family, but more the grandmother.
In a technical climax such as this, a turning point in the story occurs that further complicates and shocks the reader. Finally, the family sees help on the horizon in the form of a “hearse like automobile” carrying “three men” (O’Connor 365).
In the dramatic and final climax of “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the Misfit meets the family and determines their fate (O’Connor 365).
He and his two accomplices, Bobby Lee and Hiram, kill the entire family with no remorse and no second thought (O’Connor 366).
The dramatic climax completes the story with the ultimate ending, something that is the highest point of the story and really surprises the reader as well as ending the story. The effective way Flannery O’Connor uses the pattern of building climax allows the reader to experience disturbing events in a clear and concise manner. Plot threads the backbone of the short story, it builds the framework for a short story that reads well and portrays the image the author attempts to convey. The character description colors the thread of the story and adds to the main framework of a short story to entertain the reader as well as convey certain points the author wishes to express.
Main characters paint the picture of a short story with bold and extreme colors. Grandmother, introduced in the beginning, complete with thoughts and feelings, maintains the role of a sweet and na ” ive woman convinced of goodness in others (O’Connor 359).
Kate Chopin, born in 1850 is the author of 'The Story of an Hour' and 'The Blind Man'. She had a Catholic and affluent upbringing, and at the age of 20 she married Oscar Chopin. They produced 6 children and she devoted herself to motherhood. This marriage ended when Oscar Chopin died from swamp fever in 1883. Kate Chopin's doctor encouraged her to become a career writer, and she published many ...
Although she connives the children into doing what she wants, she completes the image of the grandmother the reader identifies with (O’Connor 363).
She relates to the time when people helped other people and respected the elderly (O’Connor 361).
On the other end of the spectrum, the Misfit cold-heartedly kills people and maintains no compassion. However, he politely allows the grandmother plead for her life and he remains calm until she calls him “her child” (O’Connor 370).
He then shows his true colors by pulling away and impulsively killing her without a second thought (O’Connor 370).
He maintains the identity of a traditional psychopath, cold, calculated and incredibly cunning. The minor characters illuminate the broad colors of the major characters; they support the main character in personality traits and overall description. The family, riddled with disregard and lack of respect for the grandmother, intensifies the image of an emotionally abused grandmother (O’Connor 360).
The children especially make the reader feel sorry for the grandmother with their rude comments and obvious snide remarks (O’Connor 363).
The lack of regard displayed by her own son completes the saddening image for the reader.
In the same respect, the Misfits’ accomplices display the emotional power he has over them. The accomplices complete his evil deeds with no forethought or question (O’Connor 369).
The Misfits’ lack of remorse and compassion is intensified when the accomplices look up to his heartlessness. Major and minor characters equally add their own individual colors to brighten the short story and create a mental portrait for the reader. The importance of the individuality between the characters supercedes the last literary aspect of a short story, point of view. In creating the short story Flannery O’Connor selects the most fitting type of point of view in order to paint the image she desires.
The narrator weaves the story in third person limited with access to the feelings and intentions of the grandmother. This explains the compassion felt for the grandmother throughout the story. The reader feels very close to the grandmother because of the direct access to how she feels. Flannery O’Connor wants the reader to attach to the grandmother to increase the feeling of shock at the murders. Point of view, especially in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, frames the picture of a great short story.
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If the point of view chosen by the author is not effective for the short story, the entire piece seems “off.” The correct point of view is detrimental in winding together many literary aspects to form the correct mental image for the reader. As Picasso used many separate aspects to create a painting that incites curiosity and wonder, Flannery O’Connor used point of view, plot and character among other literary tools to form a short story inciting fear and wonder. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” completes the image Flannery O’Connor strived to achieve. The reader must read and reread the story in order to complete the painting of good versus evil and the situation that is unthinkable. Short stories give the reader a short but very descriptive chain of events.
All of the aspects must compliment and weave together in order to let the reader feel the emotions and complete the story mentally. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” achieves the exquisite goal of the perfect painting of a short story with the climatic plot, comparative characters and shining point of view. Work Cited O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X.
J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Sixth Edition. New York: Harper, 1995 359-370.