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Symbols and Metaphors in A Good Man Is Hard to Find

The story by Flannery O’Connor describes the particular event which was of terrific coloring. In this respect the term of murder is pointed out. The world of a man is not so easy to understand. Most of human beings are intended to believe in their righteousness more than to admit the real state of affairs. Moreover, the reality is so deceitful with the modern approach. It reminds about the clear and unchangeable ability of a man under the influence of personal assertions to do things which are restricted in the society, but not in his/her own estimation of them. The story in this respect outlines the idea of redemption which may certainly appear after a man understands his hidden negative features which are related to real criticized and tabooed actions, such as violence, murder, or manslaughter. Grandmother’s role is far reaching the objectives of the story. She seems to be blind until recognizing the personal inability to love people and be devoted to them.

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The whole concept of this short story is built on the basis of symbolical and metaphorical approach. In this respect the role of the grandmother could be judged, as the straightforward implementation of selfishness. This point is emphasized on the example when she before going on trip decides to dress up well for the mercantile and selfish purpose of looking like a lady if the accident would happen. Supposedly her being so indulged in her passions and selfish needs did not let her see the difference between the significant and rather high values:

Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had 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” (Di Yanni 138)

In this respect grandmother did not even know that the trouble of their trip will become so related to a man, called “The Misfit”. This symbol highlights the whole tragedy of the story, because O’Conner herself wanted to point out the real motivation of people living in contemporary time of progress and high tempos of the mankind development. The story goes in the direction toward the Misfit and grandmother’s redemption, but before they just talk, as if nothing had happened beforehand. This approach is colored with the cold-heartedness of both, but in different ways. The Misfit is vicious murderer and escape convict who does not think that he is guilty. His argument for being not guilty is presupposed with the statement that Jesus made everything for his innocence while hanging on the cross. He thinks that he is a good man, but in fact he is not. His actions are valued by the author and by an ordinary reader as outrageous enough to say that this man is worthless mercy. Thereupon, this man positions himself, as a person being tortured in the prison. This is similar, as the Misfit thinks, to the tortures of Jesus Christ. The only thing is that this man is supposed by its name to be out of any use for the society. Here is the problem of him. Antonomasia is greatly implemented by O’Connor for making the sense of the story more shaped and comprehensive.

Grandmother is the protagonist who thinks that she is so good that everyone should take a pattern by her. She believes that her actions are not so terrific. Though, they can be judged as mercantile and selfish, but the idea of her innocence is argued in the story. She is not good, and the author equals her to the Misfit in her particular way of acting in the story. It is resentful, that she was worrying more about how she would look if something happened. Furthermore, she feels her innocence in everything solely until the moment when she during the conversation with the Misfit understands that she being at age is still “misfit”. Strange as it may seem, the idea of antithesis is represented in the conceptual wholeness of the story. Like in the Crime and punishment by Dostoevsky, grandmother can be designated to be similar to the character Raskolnikov. In this respect the idea of redemption is emphasized for grandmother, so that to make points on her long-lasting deeds which are evaluated from the side similar to the Misfit’s situation. She spent time in her life for merely nothing. This is why she is helpless and disregarded in the story.

To sum up, the idea of the story can be disclosed in terms of the title of it. Here the point on the concept of a good man is judged with an equivocal approach. On the one hand, the urge for retention of the Misfit is outlined. On the other hand, seeming as a victim of crime grandmother is shown, as guilty in her life actions and selfish attitude toward people, even those closely related. Thus, the drama of the story is that grandmother changes in her reasoning of herself.

Works cited

Di Yanni, Robert. Literature – Reading, Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed. 6. New York: McGraw Hill, 2005.

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