True Spirituality Is Hard To Find Essay

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True Spirituality Is Hard To Find Essay, Research Paper “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is an extremely powerful commentary that elucidates Flannery O’Connor’s opinions about religion and society. Like the majority of her other works, ” A Good Man is Hard to Find” has attracted many “interpretations based on Christian dogma” (Bandy 1). These Christian explications are justified because Miss O’Connor is notorious for expressing Catholic doctrines through her fiction. Once she even remarked “I see from the standpoint of Christian orthodoxy” (Kropf 1). This longstanding reputation compels every critic of O’Connor to expose the religious convictions encrypted within her stories. The grandmother’s final gesture towards the Misfit is not a moment of grace but

rather an extremely selfish act intended to save her life at any cost. Therefore, the grandmother’s final gesture symbolizes society’s lack of genuine spirituality. Further evidence that supports the notion that “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is a commentary on society’s lack of spirituality is its parallelism with Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” The stories conform so closely to one another that one must consider the possibility that Flannery O’Connor used the “Canterbury Tales,” or more specifically the “Pardoner’s Tale, as an outline for her own commentary about society’s lack of genuine spirituality. Notably, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and the “Canterbury Tales” seek “to define the good man and good woman of their age within a

Christian context” (Blythe & Sweet 1). The stories use a journey as a tool to determine and define a good man or woman. Pardoner’s and O’Connors parties encounter death because of their avarice of treasure. The Pardoner’s message “radix malorum est cupiditas” when loosely defined corresponds and strengthens O’Connors message. Remarkably, the theme of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” centers around two developed characters. The grandmother and the Misfit are essentially the only characters of significance. The other characters such as June Star or Bailey Boy merely reflect O’Connor’s observations about society. The other characters have little affect on the central theme of the story. The Misfit and the grandmother seem to be the exact opposite. The

grandmother seems to be “a harmless busybody, utterly self-absorbed but also amusing” (Bandy 2). The Misfit fits the stereotypical cast of an escaped convict. Ironically, their similarities will allegorize Flannery O’Connor’s notion that a good man or woman is hard to find. A literal interpretation of the grandmother portrays an elderly southern woman attempting to maintain the proper and genteel values of the South. The grandmother places great importance on her appearance and the opinions of others. This importance is revealed at the beginning of their journey when the story compares the grandmother, a reflection of the past, to the daughter-in-law, a reflection of the present: The children’s mother still had on slacks and still had her head tied up in a green

kerchief, but the grandmother had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim and a navy blue dress with white dot in the print. Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had a pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady (O’Connor 267). Clearly the grandmother believes that how you look reflects what kind of person you are. The grandmother makes an effort to instill her “refined” values in her grandchildren. When the children insult the grandmother’s native state of Tennessee she scornfully replies “In my time children were more respectful of their native states of their parents and