Symbolism In A Good Man Is Hard To Find

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In Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” she uses writing skills such as symbolism and imagery to get across her different themes to the reader’s with plenty of room for self-interpretation. Though O’Connor’s work could be defined as cynical, she does an excellent job of writing in the third person with her uncomplicated structure of sentences leaving plenty of room for her character 's thoughts, feelings, and actions to get across the realism of our world. "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is a battle between a grandmother with a rather artificial sense of goodness, and a criminal who symbolizes evil. The grandmother treats goodness as having good manners, and coming from a family of higher class, but at the end of the story comes to…show more content…
The peculiar conditions—the sky is cloudless and sunless—is also mentioned numerous times after the car accident creating another symbol within the story for the readers to pay attention too. The Misfit mentions that there wasn 't “a cloud in the sky. Don 't see no sun but don 't see no cloud neither" (363.) This unusual sky is also mentioned by the narrator after the grandmother was shot. The Misfit’s henchmen, Hiram and Bobby Lee, had returned from the woods and “stood over the ditch, looking down at the grandmother who half sat and half lay in a puddle of blood with her legs crossed under her like a child 's and her face smiling up at the cloudless sky.” (366). The sky is an indistinct image and can be thought about in two different ways by the reader. In one way, there is something bleak and grim about the cloudless, sunless sky because it 's empty. You could see this emptiness as a reflection of the family 's extreme circumstances at the end of the story: they 're being killed by the Misfit in the middle of nowhere, without anyone to help or hear them. The family also probably felt empty themselves as they start to lose their lives one by one realizing what was actually happening. You could also say that the sky matches the character of The Misfit himself. The Misfit being "empty" inside—he 's lost all sense of what is good, but isn 't keen about being evil either. The Misfit is also the character who, unlike the grandmother, isn 't worried about appearances and…show more content…
When the grandmother reaches out to touch The Misfit in her "moment of grace" and says to him, “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” (366). She seems to be filled with love and understanding towards him. Her moment of grace allows her to see the Misfit as a fellow human being in pain and feels obligated to love him, just like the Bible asks you to: “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” (6:27). O 'Connor presents both the view of the Misfit as a fellow human being in pain, and the feeling of love for him, as a gift from God. The grandmother as a human being, is prone towards evil and selfishness, so she could never have come to feel such love without God 's help, as this man was going to kill her. This moment of grace is incredibly important in the story. The Misfit kills the grandmother, withdrawing from her and what seems foreign to him (human compassion), but the grandmother already had her moment of redemption. The grandmother grew in that moment of death more than she ever did in the little parts that we read about her life, and she dies in peace. Her actions may have even changed the Misfit too. At the end, he says “she would have been a good woman if he 'd been there all her life to shoot her.” (366). This line confused me the first time reading it, but the second time around it made more sense. The grandmother felt redeemed by confronting the “evil” in the Misfit and finding the capability within herself to
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