The Use of Faith in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Great Guy is Hard to Find” Flannery O’Connor is a Christian author, and her work reveals Christian themes of good and wicked, grace, and salvation. O’Connor has challenged the theme of religious beliefs into all of her works mainly because of her Roman Catholic childhood. O’Connor wrote in such a manner in which the characters and settings of her stories are extraordinary, revealing deep insights into the human presence. In O’Connor’s Introduction to a “Memoir of Mary Ann,” she claims that Christians live to get ready for their death.
This declaration is shown in her other works, including her short story “An Excellent Male is Difficult To Find.” After reading “An Excellent Guy is Hard to Discover,” many questions remain unanswered in my mind. Is the Grandmother an evil person? Do readers feel an emotional accessory to the Misfit? Why did the Grandma call the Misfit her kid? And the list goes on.
After several readings of “An Excellent Male is Hard to Discover,” while it is not clearly mentioned in the story, God’s grace is the main style in this short story. “A Good Male is Difficult to Discover” begins with the Grandmother attempting to encourage her kid Bailey that they ought to drive to Tennessee instead of Florida for trip.
She tries to persuade him for her own selfish advantages by informing him “Now look here, Bailey … see here, read this … Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is aloose from the Federal Pen and headed towards Florida and you check out here what it says he did to these people. Just you read it. I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I could not solution to my conscience if I did.” (O’Connor, “A Great Guy Is Hard to Discover” 137) Her child neglects her and the next morning they start their journey to Florida. The granny brings along her cat and conceals him so her kid, Bailey, does not discover. In the car the granny talks almost the whole ride. She informs the children about a house with secret passages she utilized to visit as a child. The kids want to check out and they ask their father up until he concurs. The grandma directs them to your home, which leads them down a dirt road, and then she recognizes that your house that she mentioned remained in Tennessee and not Florida. The feline jumps out of the hidden basket onto Bailey’s neck. As an outcome, Bailey loses control and turns the car, landing in a ditch listed below the roadway. The children are thrilled about the accident and the grandma fabricates an injury so that her child would have compassion for her instead of be upset at her. They all sit and wait for help. A car comes and the granny waves it down.
Three males get out of the vehicle and they all had guns. The granny acknowledges the Misfit and reveals it. The Misfit validates by mentioning, “Yes’m, however it would have been much better for all of you, girl, if you had not of reckernized me.” (O’Connor, “A Great Man Is Difficult to Discover” 147) The 2 guys take Bailey, the grandchildren, and their mom to the woods and kill them. The grandma tries to negotiate with the Misfit to save her life but it does not work. He shoots her three times in the chest. At the start of “A Great Guy Is Tough To Discover,” grace is something that all of the characters do not have, specifically the granny.
The granny is portrayed as a very self-centered lady, yet considers herself a devout Christian. In this story she lies and manipulates her family to get what she desires. “There was a secret panel in this house,” she said craftily, not informing the fact but wishing that she were, “and the story went that all the family silver was concealed in it when Sherman came through however it was never found …” (O’Connor “A Good Male Is Difficult to Find” 143) John Desmond specifies in his vital essay “Flannery O’Connor’s Misfit and the Secret of Evil,” that, “her lying and selfishness lead directly to the accident and the subsequent murder of her family. Her self-image as a great woman is stripped from her.” (150) The granny attempts to depict herself as a good Christian but her actions show otherwise.
She believes that the method she gowns and her southern manners offer her power, however she learns when she has her encounter with the Misfit that she actually has no power. The paradox in the story is revealed when the grandma, who believes she is a good Christian, in truth is just as wicked as the Misfit. When the grandmother and the Misfit are alone the grandmother’s selfishness emerges to readers. Although her family had simply been killed, largely because of the effects of her selfish acts, she is focused on conserving her own life. Furthermore, she attempts to convince the Misfit that he is an excellent man. “I just know you’re a great man.” (O’Connor “An Excellent Man Is Tough to Find” 148) The Misfit replies with, “Nome, I ain’t a good male … however I ain’t the worst in the world neither.” (O’Connor “A Great Male Is Tough to Discover” 148) He accepts the fact that he has actually done wrong but knows there are others who are worst. The grandma speaks of prayer to the Misfit but is unable to recite one single prayer. She simply repeatedly uses Jesus name, practically as if she is cursing. This symbolizes her weak understanding of being a Christian. The Misfit is having problem with his faith in God.
While he believes in the existence of a God, he does not believe in an active God. His faith battles are most likely since of the injustice he has experienced as a result of his wrongful conviction of killing his father. He explains his doubts about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead with the granny: “‘I wasn’t there so I can’t say He didn’t … I wisht I had of been there … It ain’t ideal I wasn’t there since if I had actually of been there I would of known … if I had of been there I would of known and I wouldn’t resemble I am now.'”(O’Connor “An Excellent Guy Is Hard to Find” 152) John Desmond specifies in Flannery O’Connor’s “Misfit and the Mystery of Evil” that “The Misfit feels evil in this bones, and he discovers it incomprehensible.”( 145) The Misfit shows his individual struggle with his evil condition through actions to the grandmother’s calls for him to believe in Jesus and accept grace. Nevertheless, because of his wrongful conviction and the unfavorable stereotypes that were put on him from society, the Misfit picks to devote evil acts by killing the grandmother. The act of murdering the grandma reveals that the Misfit has come to think himself as a lawbreaker, similar to society put him as following his murder conviction. The Misfit understands of his wicked doings, and he wants answers to the evil he feels himself which he sees in the world. These concerns are addressed when the grandmother attempts to extend grace to him, and he rejects it.
The main theme in this story is grace. Numerous may battle with this being the theme because of the violent killing of the grandmother and her household however O’Connor once said, “I suppose the factors for making use of so much violence in modern-day fiction will vary with each writer who uses it, but in my own stories I have actually found that violence is oddly capable of returning my characters to truth and preparing them to accept their minute of grace. Their heads are so tough that practically nothing else will do the work. (Flannery O’Connor, “On Her Own Work”) The character of the granny reaches the climax of its advancement at the climax of the story right prior to she experiences death. She extends grace to the Misfit, which is her only positive act in the story. She understands that her and the Misfit are bound together by the good that remains in them by calling him her kid. “Why you’re one of my babies. You are among my own children!” (O’Connor “An Excellent Male Is Tough to Discover” 152) At this moment the grandma understands there is absolutely nothing else to do that is going to avoid her from passing away.
She attempts to reach out to him and extend grace however the Misfit embraces death. Mark Mitchell specifies in his journal, “The Melancholy Tyrant Democracy and Tyranny in Flannery O; Connor’s A Good Guy is Hard to Find,” that “at this minute O’Connor highlights the sad truth of a lot of who find out about the grace of Christ however decline to give up to it, which enslaves them.”( 3) The Misfit is shackled in evil. He has numerous questions as to why he does, feels, and sees evil things, but he declines the response to his concerns when he receives it. When the grandma extends her grace, the Misfit reacts in fear, as if a snake had actually bitten him. The Misfit experiences her moment of grace as a minute of wicked exposing that he will never ever understand why evil exists. In “Gravity and Grace”, Weli states that a “hurtful act is the transfer to others of the destruction we bear in ourselves. That is why we are inclined to commit such function as a method of deliverance.” John Desmond states, “shooting the grandma can be seen, in, part as the Misfit’s spontaneous effort to transfer his own felt degradation to another as a mean of freedom.”( 149) The Misfit States, “No pleasures but meanness.”
(O’Connor “A Good Male Is Hard to Discover”152) The Misfit can not make himself equal from his feeling of destruction; he can only magnify his discomfort, for this reason the last quote from the Misfit, “It’s no genuine enjoyment in life.” (O’Connor “A Great Male Is Tough to Discover” 153) The Grandmothers experience with the Misfit unfolds into Godly grace. Although it is rejected, The Misfit understands the grace and understands that if he accepts that his moral character that he has constructed would be destroyed. After shooting the grandma he says, “She would of been an excellent lady … if it had actually been someone there to shoot her every minute of her life.”(O’Connor “A Good Guy Is Tough to Discover” 153) The Misfit is noting that she would have been a “good female” if a gun was pointed at her every second of her life. In this way, the grandmother would have been continuously humbled and in a place where she was living her life towards the “great” of others, extending grace to those around her.
Overall, the theme of grace as checked out by O’Connor’s short story depicts her belief that “all humanity vigorously withstands grace due to the fact that grace changes us and the modification is painful.” (Flannery O’Connor, The Routine of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor 307) In the case of the Misfit, accepting grace is hard for him to do because it would change the perception of himself that he had adopted, as a result of the unfavorable stereotypes put on him by society. His doubts about the Christian faith influence his struggle to accept grace. His struggle is demonstrated through conversation with the granny about his ability to be a “good male.” In the case of the granny, she was humbled when confronted with death and started to realize that God’s grace can be reached anybody– well-behaved Christians or convicts. She realizes that she is not any better than the Misfit, and they are considered equivalent in the eyes of God. Regretfully, she understands what real godly grace is at the conclusion of her life, despite having spent decades trying to be an excellent Christian. True to O’Connor’s Christian background, she demonstrates grace in this narrative as being offered to everyone, but accepted by couple of.
Functions Pointed out
Boudreaux, Armond. There Are No Good Male to Find: Two Stories by Flannery O’Connor. The Explicator 69.3 2011: 150-152. Heldref Publications, and so on. Connor, Flannery. “An Excellent Male is hard to Find.” Collected works: Wise blood; An excellent male is difficult to find; The violent bear it away; Everything that rises should converge; Stories and periodic prose; Letters. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1988. 137-153. Print. Connor, Flannery, and Sally Fitzgerald. The routine of being: letters of Flannery O’Connor. New York City: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1979. Print. Flannery O’Connor, “On Her Own Work,” in her Mystery and Manners: Periodic Prose, edited by Sally Fitzgerald and Robert Fitzgerald, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1969, pp. 107-18 Mitchell, Mark T. The Melancholy Autocrat: Democracy and Tyranny in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Male Is Tough to Find”. Viewpoints on political science 34.4 01 Oct 2005: 211-216. Heldref Publications. 22 Apr 2013.
Weli, Simone. Gravity and Grace. London: Routledge & & Kegan paul. 1963
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