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O'Connor's Short Stories

How did O'Connor's religion affect her stories?

❶Every time a story of mine appears in a Freshman anthology, I have a vision of it, with its little organs laid open, like a frog in a bottle.

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The children in this article also reflect a different view of moral codes. This can be seen in the insolent responses they offer to their grandmother during the road trip. Since the children are not corrected or rebuked, it seems it is also acceptable to the parents. The story line also clearly exhibits how different people perceive morals.

Universally, many people believe that morals are virtues or acceptable conducts within a society. This is however not necessarily true as it is just but one of the many beliefs that people follow. To others, it is right to practice what may be considered wrong.

As evidenced in this article, the fugitive believes that true religion is revealed through meanness and inconsideration.

The grandmother also supports this idea by her understanding of what good is. For example, she tells Red Sammy that he is good because he sold gas on credit to customers who were not considered credit worth. In a bid to save her life, she refers to the fugitive as a good man.

The grandmother, being a major character, has a lot to teach people regarding the consideration of morality in terms of practice and adherence. The grandmother fluctuates depending on the circumstances.

On the contrary, the fugitive is a good example of a stable person in terms of morals, although they are largely considered as wrong. I wrote her back to forget about the enlightenment and just try to enjoy them.

I knew that was the most unsatisfactory answer I could have given because, of course, she didn't want to enjoy them, she just wanted to figure them out.

In most English classes the short story has become a kind of literary specimen to be dissected. Every time a story of mine appears in a Freshman anthology, I have a vision of it, with its little organs laid open, like a frog in a bottle. I realize that a certain amount of this what-is-the-significance has to go on, but I think something has gone wrong in the process when, for so many students, the story becomes simply a problem to be solved, something which you evaporate to get Instant Enlightenment.

A story really isn't any good unless it successfully resists paraphrase, unless it hangs on and expands in the mind. Properly, you analyze to enjoy, but it's equally true that to analyze with any discrimination, you have to have enjoyed already, and I think that the best reason to hear a story read is that it should stimulate that primary enjoyment.

I don't have any pretensions to being an Aeschylus or Sophocles and providing you in this story with a cathartic experience out of your mythic background, though this story I'm going to read certainly calls up a good deal of the South's mythic background, and it should elicit from you a degree of pity and terror, even though its way of being serious is a comic one.

I do think, though, that like the Greeks you should know what is going to happen in this story so that any element of suspense in it will be transferred from its surface to its interior. I would be most happy if you had already read it, happier still if you knew it well, but since experience has taught me to keep my expectations along these lines modest, I'll tell you that this is the story of a family of six which, on its way driving to Florida, gets wiped out by an escaped convict who calls himself the Misfit.

The family is made up of the Grandmother and her son, Bailey, and his children, John Wesley and June Star and the baby, and there is also the cat and the children's mother.

The cat is named Pitty Sing, and the Grandmother is taking him with them, hidden in a basket. Now I think it behooves me to try to establish with you the basis on which reason operates in this story. Much of my fiction takes its character from a reasonable use of the unreasonable, though the reasonableness of my use of it may not always be apparent. The assumptions that underlie this use of it, however, are those of the central Christian mysteries. These are assumptions to which a large part of the modern audience takes exception.

About this I can only say that there are perhaps other ways than my own in which this story could be read, but none other by which it could have been written. Belief, in my own case anyway, is the engine that makes perception operate. The heroine of this story, the Grandmother, is in the most significant position life offers the Christian. She is facing death. And to all appearances she, like the rest of us, is not too well prepared for it.

She would like to see the event postponed. I've talked to a number of teachers who use this story in class and who tell their students that the Grandmother is evil, that in fact, she's a witch, even down to the cat. One of these teachers told me that his students, and particularly his Southern students, resisted this interpretation with a certain bemused vigor, and he didn't understand why. I had to tell him that they As a narrative stylist, Flannery O'Connor belongs, however peripherally, to a Pauline or Augustinian tradition extending from Langland to Bunyan and Hawthorne.

Her tastes for gothicism, allegory, and regional setting derive from that special admiration for The House of the Seven Gables evident in so many important Southern writers from Faulkner to Truman Capote. The mingled scorn and sorrow with which Hawthorne faced I'm going to preach there was no Fall because there was nothing to fall from and no Redemption because there was no Fall and no Judgment because there wasn't the first two. Could the grandmother have something like the moment of grace without bringing God into the picture?

How would that change the story? If you do read the moment of grace as a real moment of grace or something like it, how responsible was she for it, and how responsible was the situation, The Misfit, or even God? Why does she receive it when she does? Even if you read the grandmother's gesture as a moment of grace, does this moment lose its meaning since she dies right afterward? How much do you think the story's meaning depends upon the religious perspective of the author?

How much do you think it depends on the religious perspective of the reader? Is the author the best person to say what the story means? What does it mean to describe what the story "means"? If you don't read the story religiously, does it work as well as a story? Does it have a message? Does it have as clear of a structure?

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[In the following essay, Bellamy determines the role of Protestantism in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find, " maintaining that "it is difficult to explain the .

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A good man is really hard to find in this story. When Red Sam tells the Grandmother the story about him getting swindled for the gas, she calls him a good man. She then tries to tell the Misfit he is a good man because she believes he would not shoot a lady. Suggested essay topics and project ideas for A Good Man Is Hard to Find. Part of a detailed Lesson Plan by

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find Essay. In the short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, written by Flannery O’Connor, the theme of the mysterious definition of a . Need students to write about A Good Man is Hard to Find? We've got discussion and essay questions designed by master teachers.