Maribel Gatica, G00306874
July 26, 2015
The Function of Biblical Allusions about Faith and Morals in "A Good Man is Hard to Find"
“A Good Man is Hard to Find” might just be a closer look at an individual human’s behavior, the moral codes they live by, tendencies and what is really taken into account as being genuinely good. Although it might seem like “The Misfit” might have been the evil person here, and the entire reference to the title of the short story, we can’t deny a closer look at the rest of the characters and their own “evil” ways; the manipulative and arrogant grandmother, June Star, the grandmother’s granddaughter and a nasty spoiled brat, John Wesley, June’s 8 year old brother, who is also spoiled and almost as nasty as June, Bailey, the grandmother’s only son and father of the children who does not discipline his children or have any control of his household, and lastly the mother and the baby, who don’t play much of a role in the story, other than to keep each other preoccupied with one another. The main concentration in the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is the discussion between “The Misfit” and the grandmother which alludes strongly to what the she considers genuine solid faith, her twisted view about what makes a good person and how it is finally revealed through the character’s behavior and traits that even in this short story a good person is still yet to be found.
The story starts off at what seems like a nice tranquil setting, yet it then evolves into that of a very negative characteristic in each the characters and their daily life. It is sent in the Southern region of the US. The description of the African American child and his clothing reveal the type of life they lived at that time. The run down restaurant they stopped to have lunch where whiny Red Sammy, the owner of the BBQ restaurant, was at was one example. Then we have June Star, Baylie’s daughter and the grandmother’s granddaughter, who is nasty to everyone; her feelings of where she lives sums it up when she says, about the place she lives in, “No, I certainly wouldn’t, I wouldn’t live in a broken-down place like this for a million bucks!”(O’Connor, pg. 546). John Wesley, June Star’s 8 year old brother and the grandmother’s grandson, too has the same type of temperament as his sister June and describes where he lives when he says: “Let’s go through Georgia fast so we won’t have to look at it much” and “Tennessee is just a hillbilly dumping ground, and Georgia is a lousy state too” (O’Connor, pg. 545). The setting itself gives off a gloomy negative type of surrounding to the initial environment this family lives in. As Bandy said in his critical essay of “One of My Babies” “[This story’s] message is profoundly pessimistic and in fact subversive to the doctrines of grace and charity, despite heroic efforts to disguise that fact. This vexing little masterpiece cannot be saved from itself. It has a will of its own and a moral of its own”. Now we can see that these characters are ungrateful of where they live and their life in general and would much rather be anywhere else but where they are.
The first biblical illusion comes when the family stops at a town called Timothy (O’Connor, pg. 546), as in reference to the book of Timothy in the bible. This brings us to the biblical allusions about faith and morals and what goodness is in comparison to the Bible book of Timothy and makes us question who the ‘good’ characters may actually be. Was the grandmother’s family actually the ‘evil’ ones and the story referred to when it was titled “A Good Man is Hard to Find”? The word man in this title could be referring to humanity in general not just one person. If that is the case then we can allude to the book of Timothy in the bible to portray what it states about what evil would be like in the last days when it says “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of...
Cited: Matthew Fike. “The Timothy Allusion in 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find’”. Literature Resource Center. Short Story Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 61. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. July 17, 2015
Stephen Gresham. “Things Darkly Buried: In Praise of "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"”. Literature Resource Center. Shenandoah. 60.1-2 (Spring-Fall 2010) p17. July 17, 2015.
Stephen C. Bandy. “ 'One Of My Babies ': The Misfit and the Grandmother.” Literature Resource Center. Studies in Short Fiction. 33.1 (Winter 1996): p107-118. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 61. Detroit: Gale, 2003. July 17, 2015
Michelle Owens. “The Function of Signature in 'A Good Is Hard to Find '”. Literature Resource Center. Studies in Short Fiction. 33.1 (Winter 1996): p101. July 17, 2015
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