Comparing Flannery O'connor's Short Stories: "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" And "Everything That Rises Must Converge"

1152 words - 5 pages

Upon in-depth analysis, it becomes evident that in Flannery O'Connor's works, arrogant, conceited, egotistical and overly prideful characters receive the unbearable manifestation of their own shallow, petty and superficial selves. O'Connor's characters are tragically unaware of their own egoism. The characters' excessive pride blinds them to their own flaws. When characters finally acquire some level of rationality, it is always at the cost of the life of someone else; hence death becomes a manifestation of their ruthless ego. It seems that O'Connor goes beyond good and evil and leaves definition of these terms as an open question.Manicheans/Dualists believe that good and evil are the two primary forces existing in the universe; Christians believe there is only good and all evil is a perversion of good; O'Connor's stories exemplify that individual evil arises due to egoism and lack of self-analysis. For example, the grandmother in A Good Man is Hard to Find is very deceptive and untruthful to her own family due to her selfish desire to see a house that she had seen in her youth."There was a secret panel in this house," she said craftily, not telling the truth but wishing that she were, "and the story went that all the family silver was hidden in it when Sherman came through but it was never found . . ."She diverted the family's attention from their objectives and took advantage of her own grandchildren in order to get some petty satisfaction. Even worse, it ended up getting the entire family killed. Just because she was 'wishing' that she told the truth doesn't make the fact that she lied any less deceitful. A careful look at Everything That Rises Must Converge, reveals quite a few examples of egoistic traits, something that both Julian (the son) and his mother posses. Julian's mother is so proud of her family line that she approaches everyone else as inferior. Superiority complex as such leads her to spend plenty of time trying to create a noble image of herself. Julian, on the other hand, is much more condescending, although he loves and cares a great deal about his mother, he is critical of her with the subconscious motive of making her a better person. Over time, however, he convinces himself that the criticism he feels is not love, but rather hate; he feels that he is incomparably smarter than others and fails to acknowledge that the basic emotions of all human persons are the same.Excessive focus on emotion makes one irrational; and pride is no exception. In both stories, an overabundance of pride of a character leads to the climax that usually leads to the character having an extreme lack of pride. In A Good Man is Hard to Find the grandmother's pride is among the direct causes of her and her family's death.The grandmother shrieked. She scrambled to her feet and stood staring. "You're The Misfit!" she said. "I recognized you at once!"It is quite evident that the grandmother was so proud of knowing that she had recognized the misfit that...

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