Biblical Influence from the Hand and Mind of Flannery O’Connor

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Biblical Influence from the Hand and Mind of Flannery O’Connor This glimpse into the 1955 short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” will link the reader to Flannery O’Connor and her use of spiritual symbolism. The story is representative of and a commentary on her religious attitudes and beliefs. Some background information about the author will illuminate choices she made in execution of this narrative. O’Connor was a Catholic woman in the American South, a distinct minority in her time. Only “27.9% of white females in the 1957 civilian population reported belonging to the Roman Catholic church” (Rosten 334). A 1971 Gallup Poll showed “most of the Southern population (84%) [was] Protestant” (Rosten 329). Membership in this church made …show more content…
Her hat brim comes off and moves the story from The Misfit’s introduction to the family’s murders. Irony is used in this piece surrounding the grandmother. She declares that she “wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it,” (O’Connor 429) but she is directly responsible for meeting with and suffering death from The Misfit and his gang. She also keeps her pity for the Southern plight unseen just as she concealed Pitty Sing, the family cat. The Misfit’s final statement about the grandmother gives the impression that he thinks death makes “good” people of most humans, though she has failed to see the truth all her life: “She does not actually see him as a member of the human race, her own family, until right before her death” (Kirk 77). The experiences and reactions of the characters define them and hint at religious symbolism. The participants and bystanders in this account of the journey represent some of the deadly sins. The grandmother’s “Southern Pride” is symbolic of pride. Red Sammy’s stomach which hung “like a sack of meal” (O’Connor 431) suggests gluttony. The children exemplify greed and the father is often angry, while the mother rarely engages others and implies sloth. The infant embodies innocence and has no direct connection to sin. The Misfit is the most rounded character and understands the relationship between man and God. The criminal

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