A human being is a very complicated structure with a set of different qualities. A single quality does not represent whether a human being is good or bad. However, this quality can give a push to make a negative or positive opinion. Though what is good for one person is bad for another. That is why it is hard to find a good man as definition depends on the attitude to some peculiarities of a character. Each person decides for himself how to treat a man. Therefore a good man is very hard to find.
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The great importance of this statement also affected some authors to devote their works to its investigation in order to make readers think about the essence of being a good man. Two stories A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery OConnor and The story of an hour by Kate Chopin center around this issue. The first one, which title can be called the main idea of this issue, tells the reader about a trip of a big family, which consists of the Grandmother, her son Bailey, his children, and his wife. The trip ends unsuccessfully as the family meets the escaped prisoner Misfit which kills them all.
The second story tells us about the unexpected feelings of a woman who was informed about her husbands death. Having recognized the fact she felt only the blessed freedom, unfortunately not for a long time. Two different stories written by different authors discuss the same issue and make readers think in the same direction, trying to answer one of the eternal questions. The authors presented their stories in the third person. In this way they made their works sound neutral without any sign of the authors attitude which can be expressed through the thoughts of one of the main characters. They leave the question for the reader to answer whether the protagonists are good or bad without any effect of the authors attitude.
The Story of an Hour is a short story that can perfectly demonstrate the duality of determination criteria of being a good man. The main character of the story is a woman called Louise. Her image has a set of qualities that can make the reader think about her being a good or a bad woman. At the first gaze, she can be taken as a very good person. Louise was described by the author as a loving woman. Moreover, there was great sorrow at her first recognition of the death.
The author shows it in the words “She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms” (Chopin para. 3). She was mourning. Her feelings can be a reaction of a good man. Everyone can sympathize with her. However, this judgment can be changed with the introduction of another perspective. Her reaction after the first shock was not that kind of reaction that was expected from a good bewailing widow.
Feelings of happiness and euphoria came with the recognition of her freedom. It can be seen in the words “Free! Body and soul free! ” (Chopin para. 13). This evidence can destroy her image and rest on this fact, the reader can determine her as a bad person. Two actions can determine Louise as a good or a bad person. Everything depends on the perspective. The author does not tell the reader his own attitude toward Louise. Even her death does not add some information that can help to answer this question. Louise dies and it is for the reader to decide whether she gets a deserved punishment as a bad person or goes aloft as a good woman, being not able to overcome such strong emotions. Everything depends on the perspective
There are two main characters in the story A Good Man is Hard to Find which make the reader speculate on the question of being a good man. They are the grandmother and the Misfit. At first view, everyone can understand that the grandmother is a very good woman and the Misfit is a very bad man. She is known to be a very pious person and a good grandmother who cares about her grandchildren and son. The final episode of the story can be taken as the desperate attempt of the old woman to use the power of prayer in order to save her family, as there is no other remedy for her to do it. However, everything depends on the perspective.
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The Murder of the whole family can be recognized as the Grandmother’s fault as it was she, who changed the line of march and took the cat, which was the reason for the crash and she recognized the Misfit, making things even worse. Having heard shots from the wood, she preferred to pretend that nothing had happened, continuing saying some nonsense to the Misfit in the hope to save her own life, not understanding that she irritated him even more. Her selfishness and individualism make the grandmother a very bad person and her death seems to be a logical end for the women which doomed the whole family.
This is another evidence of the complexity of the determination as to the image of the grandmother just provokes the reader to speculate on this issue. Her studied politeness to a prisoner just nauseates, revealing her spoiled character. The Misfit tends to be the only definitely not good man in the story, directly saying “Nome, I ain’t a good man” (OConnor para. 103). This phrase serves as the determination of this person. He was brought up in a good family however he can be taken as the embodiment of evil, killing the whole family without any regret. His talk to the Grandmother can be taken as a kind of mean mockery.
He just enjoys the realization of his mean power and helplessness of the old lady. The author shows us that it is hard to find a good person but unfortunately it is very easy to get across a bad one. The image of the Misfit seems to be added in order to illustrate the concept o a totally bad person which definition does not depend on the perspective. The murder of children cannot be taken as a good thing from any standpoint. The Misfits image serves to create a background that will help the reader to understand his attitude to the main characters and determine who is a good person and who is not.
Each person decides for himself how to treat a man. These two short stories perfectly demonstrate the complexity of the determination of a person as a bad or good one. This notion is very changeable and can be only taken as a subjective opinion of one person which depends on the perspective. The stories A Good Man is Hard to Find and The story of an hour perfectly prove it introducing ambivalent characters whose definition cannot be unambiguous. It should be concluded that it is hard to be a good man as the definition depends on the point of view of the people and it is difficult to satisfy everyones needs and demands. Therefore a good man is very hard to find.
Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour. 1894. Web.
OConnor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find. 1953. Web.