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A Good Man is Hard to Find - Religious Allusions

Uploaded by sccason on Nov 11, 2002

Flannery O’Connor uses Christianity as a fundamental thesis in her work, “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” The exploration for the meaning of the Christian faith in the story is based on O’Connor’s view that contemporary society was drastically changing for the worst. O’Connor, a fundamentalist and a Christian moralist focuses her powerful apocalyptic fiction on the South. O’Connor views the lifestyles of the “elite” Southern people to be a façade. “A Good man is Hard to Find” focuses on Christianity being filled with sin and punishment, good and evil, belief and unbelief. The grandmother fully tells her opinion as she tries to convince the Misfit that he is a good Christian man before he kills her. The meaning of religion and true personification enlightens the characters when faced with reality.

In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the grandmother is representative of godliness and Christianity which O’Connor apparently believed to be more hypocritical than prevalent in the “traditional” Old South, “…the grandmother had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim and a navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print. Her collar and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace, and at her neckline, she pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (1231). In this reading, the prominence is on purity and southern Christianity as if she is getting ready to attend church. The grandmother displays the proper image of a southern Christian woman in the presence of other people. Her clothing, her perfection, and her attitude are perceived as truly religious. In reality, the grandmother is exceedingly selfish. She preaches and gives sermons throughout the story yet in the face of danger she thinks only of herself. The grandmother uses gender roles, “you wouldn’t shoot a lady would you,”(1236) and religious images to try to save herself. She preaches and prays to the Misfit as if he is Jesus, “Jesus…you’ve got good blood, Jesus you ought not to shoot a lady” (1239). She radiates an aura of holiness at the same time sounding self-serving.

The Misfit symbolizes evil. At one point, the Misfit likens himself to Christ, stressing the fact that they were punished for crimes they did not commit. Christ accepted...

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Uploaded by:   sccason

Date:   11/11/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   3 pages (741 words)

Views:   5097

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