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A Good Man is Hard to Find

I think that Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is written partially in order to “convert” people who have not yet fully accepted the Christian faith. O’Conner, herself being a strong believer in Christianity, probably thought that writing this story will help make people who aren’t really living by the Christian rules to seriously consider doing so. Flannery O’Connor was deeply concerned with the values and the direction of the youth at the time. She believed that Christ was no longer enough of a priority to the people of her generation. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is representative of Flannery O’Connor’s concern for the priorities and values of the 1940s.

An example of this, in “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” involves the grandmother’s strong, southern heritage. She dresses with the intention that anyone who finds her dead on the road will know she was a lady, and she is always telling stories of southern gentlemen courting her. Then, the Misfit, whom she “knows” is of quality, southern blood, shoots her and her family, despite her belief in southern hospitality. Grandma is a woman who believes in God, but it seems that her belief isn’t really strong up until her confrontation with the Misfit.

From what I understand, most of her works follow a similar pattern. The main character(s) are in some kind of trouble and at the end they see “the light” of God’s ways and have their redemption. Christians have often criticized her works for being immoral but in actuality she uses these extreme situations and portrayals to express the power of God in a positive light. The immoral character of the Misfit is very skillfully portrayed, as is the ‘enlightened’ character of Grandma. Most of the characters in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and, probably her other works, go through some kind of methamorphosis, a change in their views of the world and in their perceptions about life and death. Such character in this particular story is Grandma and, in my opinion, the Misfit. I think that the Misfit is constantly experiencing a deep inner struggle and this is revealed in his conversation with Grandma. Of course, O’Conner’s skillful portrayal of his helps the reader to detect some obscure details of the Misfits behavior, which are key elements in determining the Misfit’s state of mind.

Going to the Territory

Going to the Territory

Ralph Ellison’s essay “Going to the Territory” is truly a definition of American culture. Ellison’s essay is a description of his journey from Oklahoma to Brown University and along the way he uncovers truths about the way Americans selectively acknowledge their history and ignore important aspects of their culture and let them fester into an uncontrollable problem.

Ellison had a connection to Brown University before he even made it out of grammar school. His principal was the first colored man to graduate from Brown and Ellison received an award in memorial to Dr. Inman Page, Ellison’s grammar school principal. It is through his time spent at Brown and his journey there that he realizes that American culture is based upon what people choose to hear and see.

“Considering the ironic fact that Americans continue to find themselves stumbling into (as well as over) details of their history, tonight’s is a most American occasion…At any rate, in the two hundreds years of our existence a great deal has been overlooked or forgotten” (123).

Ellison says that Americans ignore the social problems of our country, which results in the problems growing out of control. Race is one of these problems.

According to Ellison, race is a result of people’s personal interests. People are so self interested that they look past the pressing issues of today. “Our unknown history doesn’t stop having consequences each though we ignore them” (133). Because we as Americans ignored such issues as racial inequality- in that the debt Americans owe the black community is not repayable. We think that by instituting laws to make all persons equal is enough, but this equality is never achieved, but looked past as though it is fine.

Ellison speaks of Black culture as being imitated and mimicked by many non-white citizens. He mentions Europeans dancing like the Negroes, and how they other members of society find it absurd for them to behave in such a way. These people are subject to the prejudices of those who have overlooked the instances of inequality in the past. Today, people who pose as Blacks are subject to much scrutiny and discrimination. They are termed “wiggers” and and are often seen as offensive. Ellison thought that this mimicking behavior was okay and acceptable.

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