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Who first uttered the line a good man is hard to find in the story of the same name

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor - Summary & Analysis

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Flannery O'Connor's short stories are, at first glance, small in scope. They describe a baptism, a trip to Florida, life on a farm. Each of them, however, centers on a moment of crisis and revelation that bears enormous implications for the individual and that is evidence of a sweeping religious vision that O'Connor sees intertwined with the bread and butter of everyday life.

Faith for O'Connor is an absolute, totalizing force. One has it or one doesn't, and the transition from one state of belief to another often comes as a shock to the person experiencing it. From her vantage point as a reclusive Catholic in a largely evangelical Protestant, sociable culture, O'Connor crafts a scathing critique of self-righteous, complacent, well-intentioned people, the people who populate most of white Southern society.

At the same time, she offers a constructive, though disconcerting, idea of the nature of belief. She chooses marginal characters as her representatives and suggests that God does the same. The mere presence of freaks, as she terms them, in people's lives serves to burst the bubble of their self-satisfaction and offers them the chance to view life with newly-opened eyes. Her characters cannot escape grace, try though they might.

In O'Connor's literary theology, the attributes and workings of God are incomprehensible to ordinary people. Guizac, and others perform for themselves and others often occur against their will. Frederick Crews characterized O'Connor's writing as "not finally about salvation, but about doomthe sudden and irremediable realization that there is no exit from being, for better or worse, exactly who one is" Crews qtd. I would argue instead that O'Connor's idea of salvation is "being exactly who one is.

Grace serves to bring about recognition of things as they are. O'Connor alluded to this when she wrote, "We should not be so prone to ignore how very divisive grace is; we should not so often forget that it cuts with the sword Christ came to bring" O'Connor qtd. Freaks, criminals, foreigners and childrenpeople on the margins of societyintroduce crises of grace into everyday life and provide those around them with the opportunity to recognize the presence of something Other than themselves.

The family members are a normal, instantly recognizable group of charactersthe loud, fussy kids; the over-worked mother with a baby; the sullen, distant father; and the nostalgic, interfering grandmother.

Their lives seem insular, but no more than ours. They are jolted out of their everyday existence, however, when, after an accident caused by the grandmother and her cat, they encounter the Misfit and his henchmen. The criminals threaten their lives, but they are oddly courteous and friendly while doing sofar from the monsters portrayed earlier in a newspaper story.

The Misfit creates a dual crisis for them: the physical crisis of survival and a spiritual crisis for the grandmother, as she pleads with the Misfit to spare their lives and change his ways. She tells him that she knows he's a good man at heart "I can just look at you and tell" While she is saying this in a desperate attempt to save herself, her words force her to pay attention to the Misfit as a person, not just as a stereotype of a hardened criminal on the loose.

She urges him to pray, saying that Jesus would help him, to which the Misfit responds that he doesn't want any help. The Misfit then launches into an extraordinary monologue about Jesus. He says that Jesus threw everything off balance and that, except for the proof against him, his case is the same as Jesus'. He had said earlier that he was the kind of child who had to know everything, and he explains that not being able to know whether Jesus did what people claim for him has made him the Misfit like he is.

The message of Jesus is portrayed here as one that requires absolute devotion or absolute rejection. The desire of the Misfit to know everything and his inability to confirm or deny Jesus' story has created an intractable dilemma that consumes him. He is on the verge of tears when the grandmother, through the miasma of fear that consumes her, experiences a moment of clarity and revelation. You're one of my own children," she says This strange acceptance is too much for the Misfit to take and he recoils and shoots her.

The grandmother's acceptance of someone so different from her is wrenched out of her by extraordinary circumstances, and she is only partly conscious or rational as she expresses it. It forms the climax of the story and is the culmination of the interchange between the grandmother and the Misfit. This interchange incorporates all the themes of crisis, the need for perception, and the freak as teacher.

The Misfit, in a sense, is the good man that's hard to find and an instrument of clarity, even as he is also a murderer. The grandmother's death is an example of another O'Connor trademark: the dramatic and irreversible consequences of revelation. In the religious drama within the story, the Misfit acts as both Christ and anti-Christ figure. He compares himself to Christ, saying, "It was the same case with Him as me, except He hadn't committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me" Even though the Misfit cannot dedicate himself to either path, he recognizes that there are really only two alternatives in life: belief and disbelief.

Inattention and indifference to faith, the position held by most of the characters in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and many in O'Connor's other stories, are unacceptable and ultimately untenable responses. The Misfit has named himself aptlyhe believes and yet cannot accept the message of Jesus. Gilbert Muller suggests that since the Misfit finds himself unable to attach his loyalties to an overriding ethical or theological position, he finds his consolation only in amoral acts of violence The inability of the Misfit to live by a faith he believes to be true makes him a surprising vehicle for grace.

There can be no question, however, of O'Connor's intent. The Misfit and his gun create a moment of redemption for the grandmother, albeit against her will. Despite his amorality, his actions extract from her a recognition born out of compassion, one that invites, simultaneously, her salvation and her destruction. Sheppard, the main character, is a man involved in local government and in counseling youths at the nearby detention center. He is very intent on rehabilitating the young people he meets, especially a troubled boy named Rufus Johnson.

Sheppard sees this work as his special mission, and he is confident of his success. His wife died a year previously and his only son, Norton, is still distraught.

Sheppard refuses to recognize this, however, and constantly criticizes Norton as being stupid, selfish, and overly dramatic in his grief. Rufus comes to live with them after he is released and it is soon clear that he is a challenge to all that Sheppard believes in.

Although Sheppard persuades himself that Rufus is actually touched by his charity and simply too defensive to show it, the reader sees that Rufus is mortally insulted by charity and by Sheppard's condescension. Joyce Carol Oates suggests that Sheppard stuffs himself with what he believes to be good works in order to disguise the terrifying fact of his own emptiness Sheppard, who thinks of himself and his methods as bringing light and reason into Rufus' world, is blind to Rufus' resentment.

Sheppard continually places Rufus above his own son, making comments in Norton's presence about his selfishness and asking Rufus to help Norton with this problem. One day, Rufus starts talking about heaven and hell and Norton is fascinated. He has not been able to accept the agnostic platitudes his father uses in reference to his mother's death and Rufus' belief in concrete afterworlds heartens him.

Rufus starts to encourage Norton, reading the Bible with him and looking through a telescope with him. He acts as an iconoclast for all of Sheppard's truisms and he refuses to be altered in the slightest. The night that Sheppard finally kicks Rufus out, he sees Norton standing at the telescope.

Norton has spoken of wanting to be an astronaut and he tells his father excitedly that he sees his mother through the telescope. Rather than listening, Sheppard continues to be consumed by thoughts of Rufus and tells Norton to go to bed. Rufus returns, arrested by the police and in talking to them, Sheppard finally experiences his moment of revelation.

He says self-righteously, "I did more for him than I did for my own child" After the door closes, his words ring in his ears. O'Connor describes his transformation:. His heart constricted with a repulsion for himself so clear and intense that he gasped for breath. He had stuffed his own emptiness with good works like a glutton. He had ignored his own child to feed his vision of himselfA rush of agonized love for the child rushed over him like a transfusion of life.

The little boy's face appeared to him transformed; the image of his salvation; all light. Sheppard runs up the stairs to apologize to Norton, but the "image of his salvation" has hung himself, an act O'Connor calls his "flight into space" Sheppard, an agnostic who has set himself up as his own Christ, is simultaneously redeemed and shattered.

O'Connor here reiterates her theme of revelation and redemption coming too late. Norton hangs himself out of desperation and love for his mother and Sheppard runs to his son out of the same emotions. His refusal for so long to see Rufus and Norton as they are, not as he wants them to be, has doomed him to live without either of them. Like the Misfit, Rufus is certainly no angelic messenger.

He brings all kinds of disruption and disturbance into Sheppard's and Norton's lives. Both the Misfit and Rufus cannot accept the traditional virtues of Christianity, but neither can they escape its power.

Rufus says of the Bible and one could imagine the Misfit concurring , "Even if I didn't believe it, it would still be true" Curiously, though, he again like the Misfit serves as a conduit for gracea fierce grace, perhaps, but still grace. Rufus's words bring a kind of pitiless consolation to Norton and he proves instrumental to Sheppard's full realization of suffering McMullen O'Connor may not see revelation as a glorious or positive experience, but she argues, through her stories, that it is necessary.

Although her characters may not agree, she considers it better to live with suffering and be aware of it than to walk blindly and smugly through life. Her readers are left with no resolution to Sheppard's crisis, suggesting that the crisis itself provides all the meaning and lesson necessary. Its protagonist is a child, however, and the story lacks a clear moment of crisis that appears in conjunction with adult characters.

The child, unlike Sheppard and the grandmother, is fascinated by religion. She doesn't necessarily like saying her prayers, but she listens closely to the folk hymns and Latin anthems that her cousins and their backcountry guests sing, even as she scorns their company. The child imagines martyrdom at bedtime, gleefully rehearsing her mauling by lions in a great arena.

She ponders being a saint, but decides she is too sinful, even though to the reader, her sins are far from mortal faults. When her cousins come back from the fair, they tell her about a freak that was "a man and a woman both" She's curious and tries to puzzle out how such a thing could be.

As she falls asleep, the story of the freak mingles in her imagination with a story told earlier that day about a nun calling the body "a temple of the Holy Ghost. The next day, the child accompanies her cousins back to their Catholic school and stays there for Mass. During the Mass, her thoughts drift for a while and then she begins to pray rather mechanically, no doubt as her mother taught her. At the climax of the Mass, however, when the priest raises the Host in the monstrance, she envisions the freak in his place, saying, "I don't dispute it.

This is the way He wanted me to be"

A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Flannery O'Connor's short stories are, at first glance, small in scope. They describe a baptism, a trip to Florida, life on a farm. Each of them, however, centers on a moment of crisis and revelation that bears enormous implications for the individual and that is evidence of a sweeping religious vision that O'Connor sees intertwined with the bread and butter of everyday life.

Her apocalyptic vision of life is expressed through grotesque, often comic situations in which the principal character faces a problem of salvation: the grandmother, in the title story, confronting the murderous Misfit; a neglected four-year-old boy looking for the Kingdom of Christ in the fast-flowing waters of the river; General Sash, about to meet the final enemy. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App.

The car continued to come on slowly, disappeared around a bend and appeared again, moving even slower, on the top of the hill they had gone over. It was a big black battered hearse-like automobile. His face was as familiar to her as if she had known him all her life but she could not recall who he was. I know you must come from nice people!






SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor - Plot Summary



The Grandmother first reads about him in the newspaper—he is an escaped convict and But when the Grandmother shouts out that she knows he is The Misfit, his plans With the story's final line, however, the Misfit chastises his henchman for The A Good Man is Hard to Find quotes below are all either spoken by The  Missing: uttered ‎| Must include: uttered.








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