The Theme of Relationships in Noonan and a Good Man Is Hard to Find

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In this paper, I will demonstrate the important role that relationships play in the short stories Noonan and A Good Man is Hard to Find, focusing on the main characters in each story and the impact that their relationships have on the way they behave. The theme of relationships in these stories, basically bind the stories together. The claim that I wish to make in this paper, is that relationships affect the way people interact with, not only their families, but also with other people. Both of theses short stories demonstrate this point numerous times.

This particular theme plays a role in all Southern literature. True to the Southern Literature genre, Dr. Vasseur inserts this theme into his short stories. In Noonan, this theme is apparent in almost every page that is read. The starting point for this theme begins as the author is recounting the days of his youth. “That year I had a feud going with Greg Edgeman, the pitcher for Mullen Motors… but we got along fine off the field (Vasseur 7)”. This statement shows how that as children, people already tend to put an emphasis on their relationships.

Another aspect of relationships is how family relationships can put a strain on the happiness of children. This is best illustrated by the fact that the father stops attending his son’s baseball games when things turn sour between him and his wife. The boy remembers a night, that while lying in bed, he overhears an argument between his mother and father. There was a subdued yet very tense atmosphere in our household, and I can trace it solidly, for sure, is the night when they began talking to one another angrily, using voices I had never heard from either of them (Vasseur 8). The boy lies in bed and wonders if he has done anything wrong. This is a common occurrence in domestic arguments. The children think that they are the problem when an argument arises, when in fact; it has nothing to do with them.

Relationships often change the way people behave if the relationship is important to each person. The relationship between Noonan and the boy is the main illustration of this point. This unlikely pair forms a unique bond between them. This bond is formed the minute that the boy lies to his parents about his flight with Noonan.

Noonan is the pilot of a biplane and quickly ascertains the reputation of a reckless daredevil. He also happens to be the sponsor of the boy’s baseball team. The boy receives an invitation to fly in the airplane with Noonan however; the boy lies about receiving permission from his parents to go on the flight. The boy confesses on the way home and Noonan says that they will “both be in the dog house (Vasseur 18)”. “A few days later I saw him at the baseball tournament, and he just smiled and winked (Vasseur 18)”. This particular story points to the fact that this relationship made the boy choose to alter his normal behavior and lie to his parents about his whereabouts. It further proves that people can sometimes use their relationships with others to get what they want in life.

Relationships can be very tricky things as outlined by the story above. Another example of this is Mrs. Boyd. She is a very manipulative person. The part of the story that demonstrates this point is when she takes the sucker from her daughter and keeps it for herself. Mrs. Boyd is a heavyset woman. She was known to eat lots of food during the baseball games. “But as usual Mrs. Boyd had eaten a whole lot during the game, three hot dogs, two popcorns, a large Coke and one cherry snow cone, then sat in her lawn chair smiling sweetly (Vasseur 20)”. As the boy rides by her house along with his father and mother he observes her grab one of Ernest’s daughters by the arm, scold the girl for how dirty she has gotten then take the sucker from the child and deposit the sucker into her own mouth. The boy’s father then makes the remark, “Now I can sure understand why we don’t see hide nor hair of Mr. Boyd. I can...
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