Sunday, September 28, 2008

Of Good Men, or the Lack Thereof

Very much to do justice to the title "A Good Man is Hard to Find", O'Connor's portrayal of every character in this story seems to carry with them a negative connotation of some sort. Whether it be the grandmother's conceited narcissism and her tenancies to condemn her families and others actions based upon an honor code upheld in her younger days, the children's tendancies to be rebelious to their elders and be overall disrespectful, or the fathers generl disposition to what his family is doing most of the time each character carries with them some undesirable trait. To me, this story seems to ring with a theme of karma, in that a lot of what the grandmother says and does eventually leads to an alluded to worst case scenario.
In trying to convince the family to go to Tennesee instead of Florida she brings up the possibillity of running into an escaped convict dubbed "the Misfit" who is said to be roaming around near Florida. She goes on to say that she wouldn't know what she would do if they should be caught by him, said, as I take it, to be a means of swaying their decision to go on vacation to Tennesee. This hypathetical scenario soon becomes a reality and we come to find out that the grandmother is much less concerned with her family's well-being than she is with her own. This builds her up to be, as I see it, the character that O'Connor had in mind, the unintentional passive antagonist.
The grandmother is able to apeal to the Misfits southern up bringing, but she ends up digging her own grave by trying to sway him with religion, to which the Misfit has a vehement disposition. All of these instances lead the reader to belive that the grandmother in the story is very open about trying to manipulate people to get her way.
As I see it she is the catalyst for the entire resulting events in the story based upon her actions. For instance her cat, the cat she could stand to leave behind, because it would come to miss her too much and misbehave, is the reason the familys car crashes and they come into contact with the Misfit at all. Furthermore, by using a stroy promising hidden treasure to the children, she persuades the father to take them to a mansion she once lived in, but was actually in Tennesee when they were Georgia. This took the family down the side road where the cat cause the crash, and thereupon they meet the Misfit, who the grandmother can not help but point out is an escaped convict, thus resigning the family to their fate.
While the Misfit is definately intended to viewed as a villain, but I would like to argue that the grandmother is the proper antagonist for this short story.

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