Does One Lose More Than Innocence With Age?

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I really felt that Flannery O’Connor’s quote from “A Good Man is Hard to Find”: “’Why you’re one of my babies.  You’re one of my own children!’ She reached out and touched him on the shoulder.  The Misfit sprang back as if a snack had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest” (O’Connor 21-2) summed up several of the themes running through the story.  I think that one of the themes is the corruption that comes to people through adulthood.  Notice that it is “a good man is hard to find” not a good person.  I saw the grandma almost as a child throughout the story.  She sat in the back of the car with the other two kids.  She, like them, was restless during the trip.  She chatters away to everyone she meets, like an innocent child would.  The wife, as well, has a childlike essence to her.  She was described as having a “face as broad and innocent as a cabbage and was tied around with a green headkerchief that had two points on the top like rabbit’s ears” (O’Connor 2).  She is given an innocent, childlike face and rabbit ears which could be likened to a little girl’s pigtails. The descriptions of her son are not quite so cheerful: “He only glared at her” (O’Connor 6) or “His jaw was as rigid as a horseshoe” (O’Connor 9).  The characters that are given responsibility in the world are all ultimately corrupted by it.  The grandma can see paste the Misfit’s outward appearance and can see him as the lost child that he is.  But being a grown man, he “don’t want no hep” (O’Connor 19).  He instead chooses to shut up the remaining thread of conscience awakened by the grandmother by killing her with not one bullet, but three.        


You are doing a good job looking for passages to support your point of view. But note that there are also real children in the story. Do you find any passages about the real children, which support or challenge the claim that this story celebrates lost innocence?

Stephanie Wytovich said:

I thought that your title correlated with your entry very well. I think that one does lose more than innocence with age, like sanity for instance.

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