Intro to Lit./Hobson
“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor
In reading “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” most think that it is a very cynical tale, or even a horror story. While to others, it may sketch a reality for Christians to interpret the mysterious ways in which God works. Through foreshadowing and characterization, Flannery O’Connor displays a theme that is unmistakably real. The experiences in life are oftentimes taken for granted, and people cannot find true happiness in the realities of life. Mary Flannery O'Connor was born in 1925 in Savannah, Georgia. She then moved to Atlanta with her family, but when her father was diagnosed with lupus, they moved to Milledgeville, Georgia. Three years after her father had been diagnosed, he died; she was only fifteen years old. O'Connor began her studies at Georgia State College for Women, and continued her love of writing that she developed as a child. Flannery O'Connor worked for the student newspaper, a literary magazine, and also wrote stories. The stories won her a place in the master's program at the University of Iowa's writer's workshop, and began developing her craft and began publishing fiction. At age 21, Flannery O'Connor published her first story, “The Geranium,” that earned an award and a contract for her first novel. In 1947, O'Connor received her degree and then began working as a teaching assistant at the University of Iowa (“Flannery O'Connor”). While working as a teaching assistant at the University of Iowa, O'Connor began writing her novel, Wise Blood. However, her publisher did not like the first drafts, and instead of starting over she found a new publisher and submitted portions of the novel for publication in well-known journals. At age 25, her health took a turn for the worse, and doctors diagnosed her with lupus like her father. Flannery O'Connor feared that she would only live a few more years as her father had, and she moved in with her mother on their Georgian dairy farm. She then found a love of birds and raised exotic breeds of all kinds, and tried to keep up with a difficult process of treatments for her lupus. She also wrote regularly and gave lectures about writing (“Flannery O'Connor”). In 1952, Flannery O'Connor published Wise Blood, which made fun of American religious life, and was criticized for offending Christianity. In 1955, she published her first collection of stories including “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, and in 1960, she followed up with a second novel, The Violent Bear It Away. Critics enjoyed her short fiction, but like her first novel, the second suffered. O'Connor continued to write, lecture, and teach until her death in 1964, at only thirty-nine years old. Her second volume of short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge, was published in 1965, after her death. O'Connor won the National Book Award in 1972 for her Collected Stories (“Flannery O'Connor”). Flannery O'Connor's Catholic upbringing influenced almost all her fiction, often provoking criticism because of her harsh portrayal of religion. O'Connor's great-grandparents had been some of the first Catholics to live in Milledgeville, Georgia. Her family stood out in the mostly Protestant South. O'Connor attended parochial school and frequently went to mass with her family. Even though her stories were usually grim and violent, they are rooted in her belief in the mysteries of sanctity (“Flannery O'Connor”). In Flannery O'Connor's short story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, the story begins with the grandmother complaining about going on a road trip to Florida; but would rather visit her friends in east Tennessee. She worries to the rest of the family; Bailey (her son), his wife, June Star and John Wesley, their children along with a baby, about The Misfit, and escaped convict, that she is reading about in the newspaper. The next morning, the family sets out on the road trip. They stop at The Tower for barbecued sandwiches,...
Cited: Booth, Allison and Kelly J. Mays. The Norton Introduction to Literature, Portable Tenth Edition, New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2011.
“Flannery O’Connor.” 2014. The Biography Channel website. Mar 03 2014,11:28. http://www.biography.com/people/flannery-oconnor-9426760.
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