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Ohhhh the Irony!

O'Connor, ''A Good Man is Hard to Find'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

" "She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life." "

I choose this quote from the very end of the stort story because I felt that it was the most important line. This quote said by The Misfit pretty much defined what the story was about. I feel that O'Connor was trying to show that finding truely good people is a difficult task. Here is this old grandmother who you honestly think you should be sympathizing with but after reading this line The Misfit brings up a very good point. The grandmother would not have said all those things about him being a good person, as we did see earlier in the story, if she wasn't being held at gunpoint. Although this story is rather dark and twisted, I think O'Connor makes a very good point when using this quote at the end of the story.

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Comments (9)

Hmm... I didn't think of it that way before. It does make sense, though. Anyone in that given situation would have a tendency to try and persuade the gunman to put the gun down. It's basic survival instinct.

Also, now that you mention it, the quote does make sense with this angle. When I first read it, I simply thought it was a weird way to end a story. However, when put in this light, it does seem like the quote does have some deeper meaning. It is often much easier to see the bad qualities than it is the good. Sometimes it takes extreme circumstances for someone to be able to see the good qualities.

I agree. The grandmother only says nice things to people when she's confronted with the Final Judgment. I think O'Connor might be saying that we need to consider how we want our actions to be viewed in the eyes of God every day of our lives because we never know how much more time we have left. If we lived as if there were "somebody there to shoot us every minute of our lives," we would probably be a lot more caring and compassionate people.

Of course, that's not the Misfit's final line... what effect is achieved by having the Misfit's line chastise one of his henchmen?

What's the deal with the cat? What effect is achieved by the return of the cat at the ending?

In a short story, every single detail matters immensely.

Chera Pupi:

Ohhh. I totally didn't get that at all. I also thought it was just a weird ending. But I get it now! Thanks!

Margaret Jones:

Personally, I never really sympathized with the grandmother in the first place. She is the reason why she got her son and his family killed. She is the reason why they wrecked the car. And she is the reason why they had to find the house on the back road in the first place. And, I don't ever think she felt sorry for what she did which made me even more frustrated. But I understand how you said that the only reason she called the misfit a good person was because she was held at gunpoint. But I think that has to make you question her character even more -- if you know that your family has been killed, how could you even call the killer a good person in the first place?

HallieGeary:

I don't agree with that statement at all (to Margaret Jones's comment). The grandmother was the one that warned them they shouldn't be going near the place a criminal was in the first place. If you remember, she's the one who suggested going to Tennessee in the very beginning, and she just got confused later, when they actually went to Florida. Then, when the car did tip over, she actually wished that she had been hurt more than to have her son yell at her. The grandmother was the only one who I did sympathize with. The children were brats, the father was a jerk, and the mother was withdrawn. The grandmother, though, managed to find something nice about almost everything she saw. She even saw good things in the man holding a gun to her head (granted that it was under duress).

Corey Struss:

Good quote, Bethany! Thanks to your entry, I was able to look at this short story a little differently. I guess it was all about how good men are hard to find, but then at the end, as sort of an afterthought, the author says that a good woman is just as tough to find.

It gave me a new spin on the point of the story. In my opinion, the author is trying to get at that all of humanity is corrupt and uncivil. That is why good men and women are so hard to find.

Bethany Bouchard:

I totally agree with you! I thought the grandmother was one of the most annoying characters I have ever read. I just could not sympathize with her on any level.

Brian Clouse:

Good comments all. One question? What do you think the Misfit ment when he said "jesus thrown everything off balance" he says this twice.

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