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The Downfall Of A Woman Essay

1280 words - 6 pages

“A Good Man Is Hard To Find” is a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer in which a family meets an execution death by an outlaw. The story focuses around the Grandma in the story who is completely self-absorbed who, for example, prefers to think about her appearance then the possible deaths of her family and herself: “(while driving in a car with her family) In case of an accident, anyone seeing her (the Grandma) dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (194). Through a character dissection of the Grandma in regards to her relations with other characters and her own actions, the theme of this short story, persistent and all-consuming selfishness leads to one’s downfall, is revealed.
Grandma Bailey is the epitome of a self-absorbed human being who simply cannot escape from the gravitational pull of her own self. June Star, a minor character whose role is to allow the true nature of the Grandma to be revealed, states about why Grandma didn’t go to Florida, “She (The Grandma) wouldn’t stay at home to be queen for a day” (194). One page into the story and the nature of The Grandma is already being revealed. The fact that a described “little” girl could recognize such a character trait in the Grandma and say it with such force indicates that the Grandma is truly someone who is self-centered. The author descriptions involving the Grandma in relation to the other characters also points to the narcissism. While describing the Grandma playing with the baby in the car, the book states, “…her leathery thin face into his smooth bland one…” (195). Earlier on, when the story is describing the Grandma turning around to look at the mother, the story says, “…whose face was a broad and innocent as a cabbage…” (193). The author is clearly looking at the world through the Grandma’s eyes at this point and while nice things, innocent and smooth, are being stated about the mother and baby respectively, the extra adjectives, cabbage and bland, show the way the Grandma faults those around her, revealing her perceived superiority. In the middle of the story, the Grandma even lies to the entire family about her true intensions on wanting to turn the car around and visit the old plantation house described on page 198. The Grandma lies to the children and coaxes them into convincing the parents to visit it, instead of the Grandma doing so and most likely, as the story states, failing. Though it will be touched on later, it is worth noting that this selfish act leads to the family’s unfortunate massacre. The relations between the Grandma and the other characters, through direct speech or by the author’s descriptions, point to the well documented conclusion that the Grandma is self-absorbed to a large extent.
The way the Grandma is compelled to control every detail in this story points to her inability to view the world outside of herself. The story begins with the Grandma, countering the wants of the rest of the family, arguing to go on...

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