Tragic Heroes and Narcissists in the Short Story “a Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’connor

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Pace University
English 120
October 29, 2009

Tragic Hero/Narcissist

The tragic heroes and narcissists in the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor are the Grandmother and the Misfit. However, the focus is on the Grandmother and how she is in the grandiosity phase of being a tragic hero. There are personality characteristics associated with this phase, some of which the Grandmother has. She feels entitlement to get and do what she wants. In the story she takes her pet cat with her on the trip even though Bailey tells her not to. The Grandmother is a judgmental person. She judges other people based on petty things like clothes or first impressions. Finally, the Grandmother’s omniscience personality gets her killed. Right from the beginning, the reader can see the first characteristic, entitlement; appear in the Grandmother’s personality by her behaviors. The story starts with the family preparing for a vacation to Florida. The Grandmother wants to go to Tennessee and feels she is entitled to do so. However, she can’t convince any of the family members, especially her son Bailey. The day of the trip, Bailey tells his mother that she cannot take the cat with her in the car. The Grandmother feels she is entitled to do what she wants and bring her pet so she stores the cat in a basket with a newspaper on top and puts it in the back of the car before anyone else gets in. This feeling of entitlement leads to the Grandmother’s death at the end of the short story. She accidently scares the cat who escapes the basket and jumps onto Bailey’s neck. He drives the car into a ditch where later, the Misfit and his friends appear. The Grandmother’s feelings of entitlement get herself and her family murdered.

The second characteristic the Grandmother has as a tragic hero is being judgmental. There are many examples of her judging others in the story. She wears a “nice” outfit for the trip so that if she is found dead on the side of the highway,...
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