Last Updated 10 Mar 2020

Mapping O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”

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O’Connor, in response to her critics note that a certain amount of the significance “A Good Man is Hard to Find” lies in its utility in terms of teaching as well as in literary analysis.

However, in relation to this aforementioned utility, O’Connor also notes that the text should not be reduced to “a problem to be solved” to the extent that it is treated as something which one evaporates in order “to get Instant Enlightenment” (Fitzgerald 23).

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In line with this, what follows is an analysis of the aforementioned text [O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”] which opts to minimize the amount of ‘evaporation’ of the text for the purpose of literary analysis.

In this paper, I will focus on the locations which were specified within the text. The reasons for this are as follows: (1) locations specified within the text serve to foreshadow the events in the text and (2) locations specified within the text serve to augment the theme of the text.

In reading the aforementioned text, one of the first things that may noticed in the text, itself is the realistic setting of the story. The story is set in the state of Georgia. In the opening scene, one is presented with a family from Atlanta quarrelling about their vacation plans. The quarrel stems from the grandmother’s opposition of the family’s decision to take their vacation in Florida.

The reason for such an opposition lies in the highly probable perilous conditions in Florida itself since it has been reported that a convict which “calls himself The Misfit” is heading towards the same direction [that being Florida].

It is important to note that during the matter of this quarrel, the reader is presented with the initial details of the family’s travel [vacation so to speak] and the mileage that they will cover which will later tie up with the other details in the later part of the story. What follows this is a scenic description of Georgia in the eyes of this family.

In this description of the places which the family passes, it is interesting to note that the family chooses to have lunch in a place called Timothy in Georgia. What is of interest here is that as opposed to Stone Mountain, Jasper, and other places that they pass by there is no known specific location in Georgia called Timothy [known in the sense that it has a place in the map]. The question thereby arises as to O’Connor’s rationale for placing the location within the story.

In answer to this Asals notes that this is due to the heretical status of this family. According to Asals, one may conceive of the location [Asals] as pertaining to the gospel of Timothy which discusses “the opposition of false doctrine; the organization of the church and establishment of ecclesiastical regulations; and exhortations which indicate how to be a good citizen and Christian” (76).

The importance of such, in relation to the story, may be understood if one considers the heretical condition of the aforementioned family. The heretical condition is evident in the opposition of the grandmother’s carriage and her actions during the period of her youth.

O’Connor, in this sense, may be seen as portraying the parallel between her characters who have left the tenets of Christian faith and Paul’s warning to those who commit such actions.

Within this context, it is thereby possible to understand O’ Connor’s work [specifically the aforementioned text] as enabling a certain form of locationality which opts to counter the “rationalistic, materialistic, and humanistic thought” which pervaded during her time.

This is best understood if one considers the aforementioned interpretation in relation to her warning [as to the evaporation resulting from “Instant Enlightenment”].

Within this context, it is possible to posit that within a materialistic [in a sense on a world highly grounded on realism] the choice of the path in which one chooses has a direct effect on the meaningfulness of one’s earthly life [in the same manner in which The Misfit took hold of the family]

Works Cited

Asals, Frederick and Flannery O’Connor. A Good Man is Hard to Find. London: Rutgers, 1993.

O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories.

Fitzgerald, Sally, ed. The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor. By Flannery O’Connor. New York: Farrar, 979.

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Mapping O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. (2016, Jun 27). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/mapping-oconnors-a-good-man-is-hard-to-find/

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