The Grandmother's Christianity Essay

1480 words - 6 pages

In "A Good Man Is Hard To Find", Flannery O'Connor uses a variety of narrative techniques to create an intriguing story. The most significant are the point of view from which she writes and the religious references that lie throughout her story. O'Connor writes from a third person point of view telling the story from the perspective of the grandmother and orchestrates the events in the plot from a fundamentalist Christian stance.The point of view straddles the line between limited omniscience and total omniscience. O'Connor lets us know whose story this is in the first two lines, "The grandmother didn't want to go to Florida. She wanted to visit some of her connections in east Tennessee and she was seizing at every chance to change Bailey's mind"(1380). O'Connor does not reveal any of the character's thoughts. She gives us background information about what happens just before the story starts. That's something only an omniscient or panoramic narrator would know. She does, however, limit the point of view to the grandmother and continues to do so in the next lines, "Bailey was the son she lived with, her only boy"(1380). The only action we see is as it relates to the limited view of the grandmother, "Bailey didn't look up from his reading so she wheeled around then and faced the children's mother, a young woman in slacks . . ."(1380).O'Connor continues to toggle between a total omniscient and limited omniscient narrator. "She didn't intend for the cat to be left alone in the house for three days because he would miss her too much and she was afraid he might brush against one of the gas burners and accidentally asphyxiate himself. Her son, Bailey, didn't like to arrive at a motel with a cat"(1381). She gives us a reason for the grandmother's behavior that could be interpreted as the grandmother's thoughts, but it reads more like a total omniscient narrator. If it is limited omniscience we would get some clue that it is her thoughts and not a narrative explanation. The paragraph would read something like this: She knew her son Bailey. . . And she didn't intend for the cat to be left alone. . .O'Connor uses the same technique throughout the story making it difficult to exactly define the point of view of the story. There are other times where the story slips into total omniscience:"The road was about ten feet above and they could see only the tops of the trees on the other side of it. Behind the ditch they were sitting in there were more woods, tall and dark and deep. In a few minutes they saw a car some distance. . ."(1386).The use of the pronoun "they" instead of "she" does not limit the point of view to the grandmother. The narrator is telling us what they all saw. They, the point of view of everyone in the car, is total omniscience not limited.O'Connor's use of both totally omniscient and limited omniscient narrators telling a story from the grandmother's point of view is brilliant. It allows us to see the story as it unfolds, but limits it to...

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