The Grandmother Symbolism

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Introduction In “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”, Flannery O’Connor tells a short story about a southern family going on a trip to Florida. O’Connor, known for her Southern Gothic style of writing, focuses on themes of Catholicism and transcendence in this short story. This is most apparent in her character of the Grandmother, who also exhibits negative personality traits such as racism and selfishness. In contrast, the Misfit is a serial killer who has lost all that is good, yet is the more likeable character. Ultimately, O’Connor uses a plethora of key symbols in this story to convey the comedic aspects of southern society in the mid 1900’s. This essay will review the story and analyze the symbols presented and as well as their meaning. Summary …show more content…

The Grandmother, a woman concerned about her own desires, is immediately introduced as such in the first line “THE GRANDMOTHER didn’t want to go to Florida.” (O’Connor 137) She tells her son, Bailey, about a misfit that escaped prison and is headed to Florida in order to curb Bailey’s plans. When they go on the road, the Grandmother dooms the family by forcing Bailey and the family to subject to her own temptations; after which they get into a car accident and coincidentally encounter the Misfit and his two sidekicks. They kill the family except the Grandmother initially, who is trying to save herself by connecting with the Misfit spiritually. In a last-ditch attempt, she establishes kinship with him, but is then executed …show more content…

As the story does take place in the south, where it is more conservative, O’Connor helps her intended audience relate with an Americana state of mind. This is because the short story was written dead-smack in the middle of the 1950s, a time when many Americans emphasized the values and traditions of the family after the horrors and feelings of insecurity that millions experienced during the Second World War. Thus, O’Connor writes about a relatable activity that is typical of the average American. The traditional culture is extended to the sights they encounter during the road trip, such as The Tower and the Negro boy standing in the door of a shack. The Tower, where Red Sammy runs his business serving barbecue sandwiches, is a reflection of southern cuisine and culture. However, the Negro boy and descriptions of run-down buildings are ways that O’Connor downplays the typical images of America. People often think of the U.S. as a land of opportunity, full of life and wonders. Through O’Connor’s descriptions of old beat-up cars and houses, readers are able to see the truth. The Southern United States was loaded with poor families, barren land, and was very much unindustrialized. This shows that some parts of America just doesn’t fit into a picture of the quintessential American standard of wealth, tall buildings, and

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