I chose A Good Man is Hard to Find, a short story by Flannery O’Conner to work on. I have read this story several times and I think I am good at analyzing it. I like the story and the way O’Conner has described different characters, especially the grandmother, who seems like just another normal grandma, but ends up leading the family through the vacation of doom because of her character.
The article that I chose is written by Stephen Sparrow and its title is Grace Versus the Glamour of Evil in A Good Man Is Hard to Find. In this article, Sparrow’s thesis statement is that because O’Conner was a catholic (which I think is a religion) all her life, she was very interested to the theme of death and that is why all her stories including this one end in death or somehow talk about it (as she herself says in an interview.) Sparrow shows the reader parts from the text which show the upcoming death of this family. I agree with this thesis statement because the theme of death because it is what I myself have observed in O’Conner’s texts. Stephen Sparrow starts his article saying that Flannery O’Conner’s stories have always included death. She herself says (according to the article): “death has always been brother to my imagination. I can't imagine a story that doesn't properly end in it or in its foreshadowings." This claim is true, the theme of death can be traced in nearly all texts O’Conner has written. As is obvious in the story and as Sparrow says, the text is full of symbols, motifs and dialogues that are about the upcoming deaths. Sparrow refers to the “manipulative” grandmothers who starts talking to his son about the dangers of driving in the same direction as the Misfit. Later, on the road, the nature around them is described spooky and dangerous: "the trees were full of silver-white sunlight and the meanest of them sparkled." The grandmother has dressed in way that if anybody would find her dead on the road, they would be certain that she used to be “a lady.” Later when they pass by a field with some graves in it, the grandmother remarks: "The family burying groundthat belonged to the plantation.” And answers “Gone with the wind.” Sparrow does not refer to this fact that the phrase “family burying ground” is also another powerful image, foreshadowing what lies ahead for this family.
I think the unstable meaning of the word “good” is the most important theme in this story. One time, the grandmother calls a person “good man” who is gullible. Later, she calls misfit a good man, before asking him whether he would shoot “a lady.” Therefore it can be understood that in grandmother’s world, a good person is only a person whose works are in favor of her. O’Conner’s point in writing the story is to tell us readers how self-centeredness can ruin your value judgement. The text is presenting the problem of misjudgment, stubbornness, and manipulation. The story was published in 1955 and I think people understood it better in the past, because they were ore religious (like the author) so what happens In the story made more sense for them.
The article that I chose is successful in proving its thesis statement. The element of death is all over the text, whether inside the dialogues, or the environment surrounding the characters, or the objects they encounter. Studying the author’s life, the readers can have a clearer understanding of what the story has to say, and if we ignore the biography of the writer we cannot understand the theme of the text.
Sparrow, Stephen. "Grace Versus the Glamour of Evil in A Good Man Is Hard To Find." Grace Versus the Glamour of Evil in A Good Man Is Hard To Find. CERC. Web. 27 Apr. 2015. <http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/art/grace-versus-the-glamour-of-evil-in-a-good-man-is-hard-to-find.html>.