Essay4 (Final Exam): Writing in the critical conversation
FlanneryO’Connor is an authorthat is widelyknownforher worksthatexhibitshockingstoriesthat havemuchviolencein mostaspects.Shegoesaheadto useviolenceto depictandillustratesalvationthrough physicallyandspirituallygrotesquecharacters.“AGood Man is Hard to Find” isallabout theseriesof evilsthatmendoin their livesthattarnishes their imagesbeyond reasonabledoubts.In thisbook,a righteousgrandmotheris in disbeliefafter encounteringa murdererwhohappensto havekilledher familyandfinallyher. Thispapershall focuson theemphasisthatcriticsplaceon theconceptof salvationin O’Connor’s stories,particularlyon thegrandmother’sexperiencethat isdepictedin thisstory.Theroleplayedby thespiritualexperienceshall be broughtout as wellas otherfactorsexploredby thecriticswhotendto lookat themainargumentsof thebookfrom a differentperspective.
Manypeopletendto borrowthesentimentsof O’Connor, whoarguesthatgoodmenare not easyto findby lookingat boththereligiousorspiritualpointsof viewandsocietal pointsof view(Jansen 16).Itfollowsthatreligionhas definedthresholdsthat definetheboundariesof boundariesof behaviorthata goodmanhas to beconfined.Thesocietyon theotherhandhas alsodefinedthenormsthatpeoplehaveto followforthem to be consideredgoodenoughin their undertakings.
Lampkin(2012) arguesthatthatdefininga goodmanfrom thesocietal perspectivecan be a difficulttasksince there are numerouspropositionsthat haveto be putinto considerationwhendefininga man.Thearticlethathewroteto analyzetheworkof O’Connor arguesthatamancan be definedbased on aspectsemanatingfrom differentcharacteristics.Theotheraspectcoveredis thatmenare totallydifferent,andeachone of them has a differentperceptionregardingthesubjectmatter.Itfollowsthatthejudgement is quitesubjectivebased on eachman’spointof viewthushelpingto complicatethewholescenario.Thearticleemphasizesthatindividualsshould base their judgement on a man’scharacterwith relationto thenormsof thesocietyin question. As observed by (Shinn 26) ,communicationandinteractiontraitsof an individualshould alsobe putinto considerationwhenanalyzinganddefiningagoodman.Thewriterconcludesthatgoodmenare not difficultto findsince there are aspectsthat haveto be putinto considerationto achievetheobjective.
Thereare thosecriticsthat analyzeO’Connor’s argumentsfrom spiritualorreligiouspointsof view.David Eggenschwiler says,“O’Connor joinsnumerousexemplarytheologiansandphilosophersin assumingthatmenare spiritualcreaturesandthattheir problemscannot beconsideredwithout fullregardto their being”(73). Sucha pointisemphasizedin mostof O’Connor’s storieswhereshebasicallyaimsat expressingher religiousconvictions(Shin 64).
Inthisliterarywork,mostcriticstendto focuson thegrandmotheras one of themaincharacterswhomthewriterintendedto placethespiritualfocuson by depictingher as an exemplarywomanwhosecharacterandunderstandingof theworldaround her is comparableto none (Eggenschwiler, 78). At theendof thismagnificentwork,thegrandmother’sviolentbirthof ‘newman’is demonstrationsthatindeeditis hardto finda goodmanin theworldat themomenthencetheneedto givebirthto othermenwhowill liveexemplarylives.Sheobservesthatthemodernmandoesnot prayoraskforGod’s guidance.SheasksMisfit to pray“Well then,whydon’tyoupray?’sheaskedtremblingwith delightsuddenly”(O’Conner 373).
Onecriticbecomesquitecategoricalwhenhementionsthefactthat,“While everyone is lookingforhis ownJesus, themodestmanwhois extremelydifficultto find,someof them domorethan merestumbling” (Hendin62). Hendin(69), observesthatMisfit is unableto findJesus via salvationas expectedby manypeoplein thisstory,thoughhemakesan informeddecisionto rejecthim. Heis fullyawareas depictedby Friedman (97) to eitherleavebehind everything andfollowJesus orcontinuelivinga lifewhereheplaceshimself at thecenterof everything.
Theauthorfails to understandthemotivebehind Misfit’s rejectionof salvationandeverything to dowith Jesus despite livinga lifethat is quiteviolentandirrelevant.Heis anindividualwhoseself-lovejustifieshis decisionof rejectingsalvationandopting to continuemurderingpeoplesince thatgiveshim theillusionof freedomandpower(Gionnone47). Gionnone(51), goesaheadto addressis theemphasisof O’Conner on thespiritualaspectsof lifewithout tryingto questiontheothermotivesthat might be behind Misfit’s decisionto undertakea seriesof murderrelatedactivities.Wilson (17),goes ahead toarguethatthere is a needby theauthorto judgeMisfit as an individualwhohas failedto emulatetheexpectations of thesociety.Thefactthatthegrandmotherportraysa propercombinationof spiritualandmoralcharacterthat is encouragedby thesocietyimpliesthatthere are othergoodmenout there wholiveexemplarily.
Itcan beobservedthattheauthor’sdefinitionof manis gender-based in thesensethatthemalecharactersare portrayedas mendespite thewiderecognizedreligiousconceptsthat tendto considerhumansin one accord.O’Conner in her rightas theauthortrieshardto depictfemalecharactersin thisworkas morallyuprightandlawabidingas opposedto menwhoselevels of recklessness are quitedisgusting(Foreman andClair 8).
JohnWesley is anothercharacterthat is usedto portrayhowthemalefraternityhas lostitmorally.Thegrandmothersays,“In my timechildrenweremorerespectful”(O’Conner 12). Itsymbolizesthefactthatchildrenare not takingadvicebeinggivento them by theeldersthusgrowingup into irresponsiblemenwhomakeithardto findgoodmenamong them. Hendin(4) accusesO’Connor of beingfullof herself since sheis livinga doublelife.Shestrugglesto presentone sideof her as goodcatholicgirlthat is forcedby thecircumstancesto sufferdueto sickness.Thearticleobservesthatthere are otheraspectswhereshestrugglesto portrayherself in agoodimagedespite beinga humanbeingwhocan easilybe swayedinto otherissuesjustlike themalecharactersin her work.
Itis evidentfrom thecriticsandanalystspointsof viewthatO’Conner is quitejudgmental whenitcomesto issuespertainingreligiousandspiritualaspects.Sheportraysthemalein her bookas reckless,irresponsible,andviolentindividualswhiletheir femalecounterpartsare humble,lawabiding,andvictimsof circumstances.Despite her standthatgoodmenare hardto find,majorityof thesecriticsurgeher to widenher scopewhenitcomesto factorsthat sheconsidersmakingmengoodin her eyes.Thereare severalaspectsthat haveto be incorporatedinher definitionto makeitfairto mostmenwhobecauseof one reasonortheothermay failto impressher in one aspect,butstillbe consideredto be good.
Eggenschwiler,David. The Christian Humanism of Flannery O’Connor.Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1972. Print.
Foreman,Elaine I, and Clair Pollard. Cbt, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: APractical Guide. London: Icon Books, 2011. Print.
Friedman,Melvin and Beverly Clark. CriticalEssays on Flannery O’Connor.Boston: G. K. Hall, c1985. Print.
Giannone,Richard. FlanneryO’Connor and the Mystery of Love.Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1989. Print.
Hendin,Josephine. TheWorld of Flannery O’Connor.London: Indiana University Press, 1972. Print.
Jansen,Peter.Feminist Analysis of Flannery O`Connor`s “A Good Man is Hard toFind”4thedition. Lampkin, L. (2012, Augst 27th).WhatMakes a Good Man “A Good Man?”
O’Connor,Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” NortonIntroduction to Literature: Shorter Ninth Edition.Booth, Alison, J. Hunger, and Kelly Mays. New York: W. W. Norton andCompany, 2006. 364-375. Print.
Shinn,Thelma. “Flannery O’Connor and the Violence of Grace.”ContemporaryLiterature:58- 73. JSTOR. UMass Dartmouth. 12 Nov. 2006. Print.
Wilson,Fiona M. OrganizationalBehaviour and Gender.Aldershot [u.a.: Ashgate, 2003. Print.