Sunday, September 28, 2008

A good man is indeed hard to find, though not impossible

"A Good Man is Hard to Find" resonated with me.  I adored this story, as much as I enjoyed Bartleby, or, dare I say, more.  It was terribly depressing, it had a horrible ending, it left me feeling empty.  Because of all this, though, I count it as one of the best stories we have read this first half of the semester.  It is written simply, we are introduced to characters which, though only written about for a short period of time, are very human and real.  Anyone who has taken a long trip with their family will be able to relate to the first half of this story.  The arguments, the bitterness, and then, once separated from all of that, the hilarity of the petty arguments and unnecessary bitterness.  It is in the first half of the story that we get to know these people and understand them as being not too different from ourselves.  The story, though, takes a turn for something much darker.  This harmlessly bickering family becomes victims of a killer.  They all die, every single one of them do in a horrible fashion.  I read this story aghast, I foresaw some confrontation with "The Misfit" but nothing of the caliber we were subject to.  The Misfit is one of the most fascinating characters we have experienced thus far; the grandmother is as well.  The grandmother is a nag; she is annoying and petty, her actions get her family killed.  Throughout the story she is annoying; I hated reading her because she so effectively pissed me off.  This is all beside the point, though.  When the story approaches climax and her family is being dragged off and killed, we see her shine.  The climax of the story is very small and easy to oversee but it is vitally important to the various interpretations of the meaning of the story.  The climax comes when the misfit's eyes are welling up with tears and the grandmother sees in him a child of her's.  The misfit's face, after declaring how unfair it was that he wasn't able to prove for a fact that Christ died and then was resurrected, screwed up as if he were about to cry and at that time the grandmother recognized him as a child of hers'.  The grandmother then sought to embrace the misfit, but at that moment he shot her dead.  It is here that we see the true climax of the story and its symbolic significance.  The misfit laments at the fact that he cannot prove Christianity true, because of this he is a doubter, and because he doubts so much he assumes it can't be true and acts accordingly; he lies, steals and kills because there are, in his eyes, no consequences.  The grandmother, though, is a true follower of Christ, urging the misfit to pray over and over again near the end of the story.  The doubter, though, kills the true believer.  The true believer recognizes that the doubter isn't really a doubter, that he had a moment of revelation, and because of that she dies with a smile on her face looking towards heaven.   Shortly thereafter we are presented with evidence that the misfit, or, the doubter is not happy with the way his life is going because he blatantly says so.  He tells one of his partners in crime that there is no joy in the life they are living.  He says that the grandmother, when preaching the word of God, was happy and he states that if only there were a person always there threatening to kill her and make her appreciate God, would she be deemed a good person.  I feel as if this is a highly religious story, a very pro-christian one.  I feel as if it is suggesting that all people know, on a very basic level, that they are saved.  I feel, also, that it laments for those who reject this looking for proof, stating that their lives aren't fulfilled or happy in any way, and that those who DO accept religion will, even in death (remember the grandmother smiles towards heaven while dead) find happiness. 

No comments: