Comparison of Protagonists in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “Greenleaf” Essay

A comparing of supporters in Flannery O’Conner’s “A Good Man Is Difficult To Find” and “Greenleaf”

In both his plant of fiction. “A Good Man Is Difficult To Find” and “Greenleaf” . Flannery O’Conner paints a instead inexorable image. The supporters in both the short narratives portion several common traits. In the narrative. “A Good Man Is Difficult To Find” . the Grandmother. who remains nameless throughout. is a despicable adult female. who is besides selfish and a complete dissembler. Yet. she continues to judge other people for what she perceives to be their defects. She is a adult female who has seen adversities. and merely the fact that she got through them. makes her experience morally superior to others. She feels she is a ‘lady’ which makes her better than the remainder. She lacks the will and the ability to introspect and pass her clip go throughing opinion on others.

Her lip service is highlighted in the fact that she spends most of her clip go throughing opinion on others even though she claims her witting to be her steering force. A blazing illustration of her selfishness is when she is afraid for her ain life. but claims that her scruples would non let her to take her household in the same way as that taken by the condemnable referred to as ‘the Misfit’ . She passes opinion on her daughter-in-law for non taking her kids to a topographic point that she personally thinks would be good for them. To farther add abuse to hurt. she compares her daughter-in-law’s face to a chou.

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The Grandmother has an sentiment on everything and feels that her manner of making things is the lone manner to make them. She chastises another character from the narrative. John Wesley. for what she thinks is inappropriate sum of regard for his place province. At any chance. she makes it her concern to judge other people and comment at the deficiency of their goodness. without obviously holding any of her ain. She gives small attending to her ain behaviour. convinced that being a lady is the lone virtuousness. and she. by dressing as one is the lone lady and therefore is the lone 1 who harbors any virtuousnesss at all.

This deficiency of ego consciousness. and a inclination to disassociate herself from everything go oning around her. to take a morally condescending stance. is a perennial subject of her character. Though she is critical of everyone and everything that other people do. she continues to turn a blind oculus to her ain weaknesss and defects. believing herself to be above any character or personality defects. She continuously negotiations about her scruples. mentioning it when it can acquire her her ain manner. while wholly disregarding it when it comes in the manner of what she wants. She sneaks Pitty Sing into the auto and continues to lie to the kids. If she made a error. she chooses non to uncover her and incrimination others for it. Even at the terminal of the narrative. when the household encounters the Misfit. and he consistently murders everyone – including the kids that the Grandmother harps on ab initio. she ne’er for one time begs him to save their lives. Alternatively. when the condemnable eventually turns his arm towards her. she begs him and entreats him to save her. mentioning the fact that she was a lady and hence above the remainder of the household that had been so pitilessly murdered in forepart of her.

Despite her hyperactive scruples. which had merely witnessed the slaying of her household. she entreats the Misfit to fall in her universe stating him that she believed him to be a good adult male. Despite the coldheartedness that the Misfit had merely displayed. the Grandmother is certain of her moral codification and that it would intend something to him. In fact. she even extends it to him. seeking to do him see that he was a good adult male. albeit a misunderstood one. Unfortunately for her. though he does hold with her. he does non see this as a ground to allow her spell. Throughout this traumatic event. the Grandmother continues to be the egotistic individual that she started out to be in the narrative. It is merely in her concluding minutes. when she is merely a wink off from decease. does she recognize her folly and admits that she is flawed like everyone else that she had criticized wholly her life. She eventually sees the mistake of her ways and learns the truth about herself. merely it is excessively late for her realisation to be any good to her. As her last dying words. she admits to the Misfit that he was like one of her ain kids. eventually demoing the ability to experience compassion. Her last minute alive is besides her minute of truth. one where she realizes who she is and understands others. This important minute of her life is instantly followed by her tragic decease.

In Greenleaf. the writer directs a similar supporter. The supporter. an aged lady in this one excessively. is Mrs. May – the owner of a farm. She is a egotistic adult female who believes that her farm is profitable and prolonging merely because of her attempts. flinging the attempts put in by the remainder of the household and the farm aid. Her rise from indigence to the success of her farm makes her unmindful to the fact that she had aid. Alternatively. she sees this as an chance to set on poses and state the universe of her art in concern. She brags about herself being hard up and inexperienced when she foremost came about the rundown farm. and takes great pride in the fact that the farm is now successful. She non merely forgets the part of the farm aid. but blames them of being against her. She even goes on to the extent of faulting the elements of being against her. So captive is she in her ain success that she forgets that it is merely the elements of nature that allow the farm to be successful.

She besides forget the aid of Mr. Greenleaf. who stood by her and toiled with her to do her farm successful and profitable. It was merely after Mr. Greenleaf had answered her ad for aid that she had been able to put up a dairy for herself. Though the narrative does non beat up on the peculiar parts of Mr. Greenleaf. it does propose that the farm was merely established upon his reaching and therefore it can be inferred that he was instrumental in its success. She. with her half baked cognition in farming. and her deficiency of experience. is surely non a good farm keeper or a farm director. It is merely the experience and the wisdom of Mr. Greenleaf that continues to do her farm successful and profitable. Her good luck has been because of the reaching of a fieldhand who is non merely knowledgable. but besides difficult working. This is something that she ignores through the class of the narrative. She places a batch of value on her ain sensed virtuousnesss. in this instance her attempts to draw the farm together. On the other manus. she complains about Mr. Greenleaf to everyone who would turn an ear to her. Most of her approvals are undeserved. but she fails to acknowledge it and is surely non graceful in her rejection of Mr. Greenleaf’s parts.

As the narrative continues to construct. Mrs. May’s bitterness towards Mr. Greenleaf increases. She is finally brought down and killed by a bull. who she wants to command. While Mr. Greenleaf views the bull as an unstoppable force of nature. Mrs. May sees it as an interloper on her belongings and something that she should be able to command. because of her place and her sensed abilities. In declining to yield to the forces beyond her control. she invites her ain terminal. The bull eventually attacks her and she is impaled by its horn.

A similar character subject to that of the Grandmother. Mrs. May can non see the grace nowadays in those that she believes to be socially her inferiors. Like the Grandmother. it is Mrs. May’s blind pride. and her inability to turn her oculus inwards. that leads to the struggle between herself and those around her – in this instance Mr. Greenleaf. She thought excessively extremely of herself. and was pretentiously self righteous. As in most of her plants. O’Conner gives her supporters the features of ego righteousness. blind pride. tactlessness and amour propre. Both the Grandmother and Mrs. May believe themselves to be ladies. and hence above reproach. They both feel that if they feel. frock and act the portion. they can be ladies. who are in fact august people of the society. They attach excessively much importance to their ain egos and to their perceived societal standing. Though they do non take to move like ladies. they still believe themselves to be it. They both feel that if they continue to act like respectable people of the society. they would be appropriate rewarded with good graces. Both of them have small forbearance or compassion.

Another similarity between the two characters is that though both of them continue to be conceited and dissemblers. they do understand their ain follies during their dying minutes. In the narrative ‘Greenleaf’ Mrs. May is impaled by a bull’s horn and as she is lying at that place. death of her dangerous hurts. she chooses to squeal something to the bull. Her death words are spoken in the bull’s ears. What these words were. we will ne’er cognize because the storyteller does non take to make so. One can merely conceive of that when she does confront the minute of truth. Mrs. May. like the Grandmother. chooses to eventually admit the mistake of her ways.

Another unfortunate similarity between the two supporters is that none of them were able to acknowledge their foolishness to the people they had wronged. While in “A Good Man Is Difficult To Find” . the Grandmother realizes her error merely after the balance of her household has been murdered. Mrs. May dies entirely without holding the opportunity to apologise for her behaviour and her mistakes to their primary recepient. Mr. Greenleaf. In both the instances. self realisation came excessively tardily. merely when the adult females were moment’s off from decease. The realisation of their mistakes is rapidly followed by their deceases in both the narratives. giving them no chance to rectify themselves or do damagess to the people they had wronged by their actions.

Though it is non evident in O’Conner’s manner of narrative. it seems that the supporters of both the narratives were undeserving of the attending. fondness and approvals that they received in their life. Why the two choose to be the manner they are or act the manner they do. remains a enigma. Both of them are aged adult females. but their young person is non discussed in the narrative. so one can merely presume that the two had seen tough times which hardened them emotionally. Their insisting on being morally superior by virtuousness of being ‘ladies’ may hold something to make with some experiences in their young person or their earlier life. of which there is no reference in either of the narratives. At the terminal of each of the narrative. the chief characters. who remain self-satisfied and conceited throughout the narrative. are shocked out of their ego righteousness into humaneness. Unfortunately. the realisation of their entire insufficiency in the eyes of the supreme being. or God. comes excessively late – in their death minutes.


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