Unconditional Love Essay

1672 words - 7 pages

God’s grace is offered to everyone no matter what his or her religion, or lack thereof. The real obstacle is whether or not the offered grace is realized and accepted. In “The River” by Flannery O’Connor an innocent child, Harry, is offered grace. He is clueless to what is going on, but he knows he is not content in the life he lives now. In addition, in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” O’Connor challenges the socially unworthy characters, The Misfit and the Grandmother, to find and accept grace. God grants all of his children the opportunity to obtain grace whether they are innocent or apparently socially unworthy. The innocent Harry and the socially unworthy Grandmother both receive ...view middle of the document...

Mrs. Connin is taking Harry and her children to the riverside healing. As they approached Harry could hear the great “Reverend Bevel Summers warning people that they should be present for Jesus, not just for healing – that the river that matters, the one that heals, is the river of Jesus’s blood, which leads to the Kingdom of Christ” (Gentry 1-2). As Harry is listening to the preacher he thinks that the Kingdom of Christ sounds much better than going back home (Sparrow 3). Mrs. Connin asks Harry if he has ever been baptized.
Harry doesn’t actually know what baptism is but likes the idea of going to the Kingdom of Christ and having his suffering washed away (O’Connor 168). He “agrees to be baptized so he can go to the Kingdom of Christ, which he imagines is under the river” (Gentry 3). Reverend Bevel Summers tells Harry that with baptism he “now counts”; whereas, “he didn’t even count before” (O’Connor 168). He wants to be in the River of Life and keep going until he finds the Kingdom of Christ. In baptism, grace is received and Harry’s old life will be replaced with the same love and affection he has received from Mrs. Connin.
Harry has found his way to the same river he was at yesterday; the river he was told that leads to the Kingdom of Christ; the river that makes him important; the one that makes him “count.” Harry is an innocent child that is misguided by the affection he receives from Mrs. Connin after baptism. He feels that if he goes under the river for a longer amount of time he will receive the same love and attention from his parents. He becomes angry after he jumps in the water and makes multiple unsuccessful attempts to keep his head under the water. In one last ditch effort, he goes under for the last time. This time he feels as though the river is taking him. He begins to relax as he has an epiphany and is “overcome with surprise” (O’Connor 174). He has found his grace and accepts it on his way to the Kingdom of Christ, and now he will “count” forever. He is set free from the misfortune of being led astray and neglected by his parents in the instruction of faith (Sparrow 3). Grace is found out of the core of Harry’s tragedy. God can make anything including tragedy, violence, and evil an instrument for good (Sparrow 3).
Grace can also be found through violence as revealed by the fate of the Grandmother in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” Things always happen for a reason; God has a plan. There are many mishaps that occur in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” that bring the Grandmother and The Misfit face to face. From the beginning of the story, the Grandmother attempts to manipulate her family into doing what she wants. With manipulation and deceit, she unknowingly plays a large part in the death of her family. The Grandmother manipulates her son Bailey, into taking a detour from their trip which leads them onto a seemingly deserted dirt road. The family car was involved in an accident which results in minor...

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