A short story is a work of literature that is shorter than a novel. Although some may believe the length may not be enough to develop a noble story, in these few pages an author can pack a tight punch that will leave one in awe, disgust, or utter sadness. Whether there is a moral of the story or it is simply for the reader’s enjoyment, each author has their own style of conveying a message through their work in very diverse ways. Through Flannery O’Connor and Chuck Palahniuk’s works we can see this very evidently.
Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find is a short story about a family who is shot and killed by a criminal, named The Misfit, on a family road trip. This story is filled ...view middle of the document...
But the most appalling and deplorable passage was the Narrator’s account of how he enjoyed masturbating while seated underwater on the circulation pump. One day things go wrong and the suction pump pulls his intestines out and he was forced to chew through them himself to save his life.
I feel that Palahniuk’s story had little to no literary distinction compared to O’Connor’s well thought out story. All of her characters had a reason and represented something much greater. For example, ‘The Grandmother’ in O’Connor’s story was a very prominent character because the moral of the story was seen through her actions. The author made The Grandmother very manipulative and self-centered. She showed this when The Grandmother tells Bailey that The Misfit had recently escaped to try and deter her family from going to Florida because she would much rather go to Tennessee. The narrator even goes as far to say, “She was seizing every chance to try to change Bailey's mind”.
The Grandmother was also very egotistical and immoral. O’Connor presented this through the way The Grandmother judged and dealt with her family. She refused to admit that she was wrong, even when she mistakenly led them towards a house that she soon realized was in a completely different state. She would much rather stir up more trouble, than just admitting the she was wrong. Throughout much of the story, The Grandmother acted as if she was on a pedestal. She made herself seem better than everyone, all the way down to her wardrobe. She wore a hat, simply because she was a ‘lady’ and did not want anyone to get the wrong impression that she was anything less. Not once does The Grandmother point out her flaws because she was too busy pointing out everyone else’s. On the outside, she portrayed herself as a good Christian woman, but never spoke about being religious until she thought she was going to be killed by The Misfit.
I believe that Flannery O’Connor used this character to exhibit the faults that many of us, as humans sometimes deal with. More often than not, we tend to be egotistic and worry more about ourselves than anyone else, just like The Grandmother. When her family was separated from her, she said nothing but as soon as she saw she was about to be shot, she tried to save herself by repeatedly telling The Misfit, “You wouldn’t shoot a lady.” It was not until it was too late that she realized that she was wrong and was no better than anyone else.
O’Connor’s stories tend to deal with the issues of so-called “Christians” and their inability to live the life they portray, much like her short story Good Country People. The detail and symbolism that Flannery O’Connor places in her stories have a definitive meaning and can be sought out to have some type of underlying connotation. Many of her motifs are religiosity and immorality. She has a way of showing her readers that not everyone is cracked up to who they portray themselves as. The way that Flannery depicts her feelings of...