When people encounter realties that are too harsh, they often try to escape to a fantasy world that is more comforting. In stories, children are always escaping, whether it is to “a secret garden” or down a rabbit hole to Alice’s Wonderland. In Flannery O’Connor’s triad of short stories, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” “Good Country People,” and “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” she uses characterization, setting, and ironic tone, to help the reader understand that fleeing from life’s consequences can lead to dangerous outcomes, both psychologically and physically.
In one way or another all of the protagonists think that they are superior to others. This trait impedes any real engagement with reality. Hulga, in the short story “Good Country People,” believes that she is intellectually superior to her mother, housekeeper and the townspeople. Although, she has a Ph.D in Philosophy, her philosophy on life is rather pathetic. “She believes in nothing but her own belief in nothing.” Although she thought, “she could smell the stupidity of young men” and was “face to face with real innocence,” she is the one who ends up being taken advantage of. In “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” Julian’s mother refuses to believe that her grandfather’s plantation with 200 slaves does not have any social significance in the next generation. She feels that blacks “were better off when they were slaves, they should rise, yes, but on their own side of the fence.” Amusingly, she claims Julian, “doesn’t know a thing about life, he hasn’t even entered the real world.” Simply because she is an older woman and has white skin his mother seems to think that she is God’s gift to the world and should give everyone below her “a bright new penny.” The grandmother in “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” is superficial and manipulative. She thinks that, because she is old and loves her family, she can get what she wants in life. When the Misfit begins his shooting rampage, she says “you’ve got good blood, I know you’re a good man,” as if her reassurance will change his mind.
A good man is hard to find” It is a straightforward story. It is narrated through a third person viewpoint, especially from ... ” and disappointed that “Nobody’s killed” (pg 259). The first real suspense and rise in action appear when Bailey begins to realize that ... be forgiven by the Misfit and pleaded to spare her life. Then she said, "Why you are one of my babies. ...
Another trait that all of the main characters share is their fearfulness. Hulga is scared of happiness. By changing her name to Hulga, “the ugliest name that she could think of,” she implies that she does not feel “Joy;” she feels ugly and is scared to let down her guard. Julian’s mother is insecure and afraid of being looked down upon by society. She even feels that her apartment is well located because it is “in a neighborhood that was fashionable forty years ago.” Due to integration, blacks were able to move up in society and she was unconsciously afraid that they were catching up to her in social status. In “A Good Man is Hard To Find,” the grandmother brought her cat on the car trip so that “it would not asphyxiate itself” and insisted on wearing lace, so that “anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know that she was a woman.” Both of these gestures are examples of her fear of death.
Finally, all of the characters are naïve, unworldly and unable to “read” people. Mrs. Hopewell refers to the bible salesman as “genuine,” while the entire time he is really just scamming the family. When Hulga goes out with him, she is struck by what a good Christian he is and agrees to his odd requests which essentially lead him to live her feeling “entirely dependent on him.” The reader sees this coming, although Hulga is completely blind. The grandmother is naïve and unrealistic to think that the legendary Misfit, a killer, must still be “a good man.” She asks, “You wouldn’t shoot a lady?” as if her being a lady would make this man less crazy. Finally, Julian’s mother is not able “to read” the reaction that will come from the black woman while her son knows that this petty charity act will offend her.
Women and Men Communicate Differently The process of neo-Liberal dogmas, such as celebration of diversity and elimination of sexism, being showed up peoples throats, brought about a situation, when employment policies correspond less and less to the objective reality of interaction between genders at workplace. Men and women are expected to execute their professional duties with the same ...
Another important literary element that supports O’Connor’s theme is the setting, the South in the early 1950s. For example, it would be impossible to imagine grasping the same meaning from the stories if they were set in New York in 1987. Racism and the legacy of slavery provide one important element of the setting. The sense of superiority that O’Connor attributes to her characters is something that all whites in the South shared because they could look down on blacks. In “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” Julian’s mother is not ready to accept that integration was changing the way that society looked at black people. She had grown up hearing about her grandfather’s 200 slaves and it was difficult for her to accept that neither she nor blacks were where they had once been.
The South is also known for “Southern hospitality,” “Southern gentlemen,” and good manners. These concepts emphasize appearances, not underlying realities, and O’Connor’s characters share this emphasis. The title implies that this family, in particular, did not want to think about one’s bad traits and insisted on noticing only the good. When the bible man came to the door in the “Good Country People,” the women noticed that he was talking “earnestly, sincerely, and genuinely,” and assumed that he must come from a nice southern family where religion was of superior importance. In reality he was just the opposite. He had no religious faith and sold bibles only to make money and occasionally take advantage of women. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” has many similar implications addressing the thoughts that this twisted Grandmother has of southern society. When she meets the murderer, he is the soul of politeness and she treats him like a Southern gentleman.
Finally, O’Connor’s ironic tone in each of the stories supports the theme. In all of the stories the reader has a difficult time identifying with the characters or with their suffering. For example, in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” the entire family is outrageously obnoxious and pathetic. Thus, when the grandmother is murdered, the reader is tempted to agree with the Misfit that “she would have been a good woman if there would have been someone to shoot her every minute of her life.” It is ironic that O’Connor is able to manipulate the story so that the reader never actually feels sorry for this “good” southern woman. It is also difficult to identify with Hulga or the rest of her household because they seem to lack any substance. (“Mrs. Freedman had three gestures, neutral, forward, and reverse.”).
"Truth morals and good taste are all irrelevant in commercial t. v." How does frontline and other supplementary material explore this idea? How far is too far? In today's society there is a fine line between telling the truth and not. Each day we encounter lies and concealment. And who would of thought, most of the false accusations we are fed, come from those we rely on for the truth. "Truth is ...
When Hulga’s leg is stolen, instead of the horror that should be felt, O’Connor knows that the reader will perversely enjoy this act, just as Mrs. Freedman had a special fondness for incurable infections. Julian’s mother is also hard to relate to because her perceptions are so out of kilter. At the end of the story, when the black woman’s fist “swings out with the red pocket book,” instead of feeling sorry for her, the reader thinks she probably got what she deserved.
Children always have a secret place, or a special teddy bear, or something to make them feel better when a best friend moves or parents fight. This outlet to frustration and sadness is what binds O’Connor’s stories together. Her characters are child-like rather than children, but they too try to escape from unpalatable truths. High school students do this as well, some realizing it more than others at this point. Especially at Fox Chapel, students are granted numerous learning options, technologies, and facilities. Teenagers in this area tend to only have teenage responsibilities such as making their bed, doing the dishes, walking dogs, and caring for siblings. Once out of high school these young adults are faced with the possibly harsh reality that bills need to be paid, and things will not be given on silver platters. Lunchroom gossip usually consists of events such as Homecoming and the new junior couple rather than discuss the latest energy bill from President Bush.