i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

Leafy Green Equations

March 30, 2005

Having read a couple of O'Connor's stories over the summer as well as "A Good Man is Hard to Find" recently in EL 150, I wasn't too surprised by the ending of this story. In fact, I was waiting for it. See, in an article we read in Intro to Lit, we learned about the "comedy of circularity" or, if you will, What Goes Around Comes Around.

So when Mrs. May starts off the story complaining about "Some nigger's scrub bull" I knew Mrs. May was in for a nasty surprise at the end of the piece. Ah yeah, gored to death by a bull. In O'Connor's way of thinking, this was a justified ending for Mrs. Crankypants, er, Mrs. May. And, um, it's probably supposed to be funny.

So, I'm curious what everyone thought about the ending. Where you expecting Mrs. May to get gored by the bull? Did you expect the bull to be shot and that be that? What did you think was going to happen?

Moira at 10:28 AM :: Comments (5) :: ::

I didn't expect Mrs. May is going to die at the end. I thought Mr. Greenleaf is going to shoot the bull and he is going to be miserable at the end. Mrs. May kept saying "If I die." to her sons. I thought she won't die anotehr 20 or 30 years. but she really died pretty quickly.

Posted by: Mina at March 30, 2005 08:27 PM

I knew the bull wouldn't be dead when she pulled her car into the field and waited for the gunshot. The story was just set up in my opinion to see that. I was expecting the bull to ram into the car like it did to the Greenleaf boy's truck. I didn't see her getting killed, but the story did set up for it. It was an omen that she kept seeing the bull in her sleep and than waking up to it outside her window.

Posted by: Scott Clark at March 31, 2005 12:11 AM

Scott - Good point about her dreams being an omen of what was to come - I didn't think about that.

Mina - I kind of knew what to expect just from the readings I've done before of O'Connor. If someone hadn't died almost unexpectedly, I probably would have been disappointed. Hah! ;c)

Posted by: moira at March 31, 2005 12:12 PM

I didn't know that O'Connor expected that ending to be humorous. I guess I wouldn't have found it that way... Ironic? Maybe. Deserved? Definitely. But not predictable beyond, as Scott said, her parking in the field. She was practically asking to be killed. If it hadn't been the bull on his own, it might have been a stray bullet or the bull could've been driven out by Mr. Greenleaf and she would've died anyway.

I wonder how Mr. Greenleaf feels about Mrs. May being gored by the bull that he was supposed to shoot--his boys' bull, nonetheless...

Posted by: Karissa at March 31, 2005 02:18 PM

Karissa - I hear you - I don't necessarily think that an old mean lady being gored to death is funny, nor did I find a whole family being shot to death particularly laugh-inducing (that's what happens in another story by O'Connor). However, in Intro to Lit we read this academic article about the humor in O'Connor's piece and that's where I was getting my ideas.

Mr. Greenleaf is actually probably about the only person who might find the situation funny! hah!

Posted by: moira at March 31, 2005 02:35 PM
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