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A Good Man Is Hard To Find

1461 words - 6 pages

Divine Grace in the Imperfect but Funny World of Human Beings

Grotesque in style, Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” portrays a comical tone through the irony of repulsive characters. Written in third person, O’Connor narrates the story in testimony to her intense realistic observation which demands hope through cynical events that occur on a family trip to Florida. The trip foreshadows events leading into an encounter by an escaped convict named “The Misfit” who murders the family as a whole in the end. A theme that lingers in her story is the divine grace in the imperfect but funny world of human beings. From the authors’ oeuvre, audiences can grasp the ...view middle of the document...

It also brings out a comical sense since she is so stubborn on the fact that she has to go to Florida instead of Georgia and thinks that the murderer in an article she read will appear and kill her. Her attitude towards her grandchildren also shows her pessimistic view of life. For instance, when the family was driving through Georgia the lands were barren and John Wesley, one of the children, mocks his grandmothers sanctuary as a “hillbilly dumping ground (Paragraph 15),” and the grandmother replies, “‘In my time…children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else. People did right then… Oh look at the cute little pickaninny!’ she said and pointed to a Negro child standing in the door of a shack. ‘Wouldn't that make a picture, now (Paragraph 17)?’” Ironically, the grandmother looks like the cynic because she says how much the children do not appreciate the country, whereas she is stuck in the acceptance of racism and southern historical values rather than the modern family perspective. The effect of the grandmothers’ ironic comments gives meaning to the text in the voice the author chooses to use.
Set in the rural American South, O’Connor’s fiction can be depicted from her choice and use of words. Diction is used to categorize the formality of the context from a story. This story uses informal languagethat is broken up and colloquial. For example, “the old lady said. ‘You all ought to take them somewhere else for a change so they would see different parts of the world and be broad. They never have been to east Tennessee (Paragraph 2).’” This quote shows that the grandma uses dialect that is out of date or from a southern state. “You all” is a term used from a rural area, and “ought” is an uncivilized way of saying better. Followed by diction tone can easily be picked up from the sentence structure towards the implied attitude of the authors’ language. A hyperbole can be picked up from the lines, “‘She wouldn't stay at home to be queen for a day,’ June Star said without raising her yellow head (Paragraph 4).” The sarcastic statement implying that the family could careless whether or not the grandma stays or goes the family could care less. Choosing words such as “queen” , implies that the granddaughter, June Star, is sarcastic and when she doesn’t pick up her head to speak it shows that she thinks the grandma is just a nuisance acting of higher authority. Certain word choices’ and expressions mold the tone and entail the humor of the fictional story—helping the action of the script.
To understand O’Connor’s humor, it is critical to understand or depict the dramatic and verbal irony from the tone. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the sarcastic comment about the grandma being a queen is an example of verbal irony because she is not technically a queen, having a different meaning rather than a literal one. This short story contains much dramatic irony that reverses an expectation that the reader...

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