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Innocence, Ignorance and Illumination: A Critical Analysis of Flannery OConnors Short Story, A Good Man Is Hard to Find - Essay Example

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The paper seeks to approach the critical analysis using formalism, psychoanalytic criticism, and Marxist criticism theories. The paper does not seek to offer a summary of the literary work but attempts to define my personal understanding and analysis of the short story. …
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Innocence, Ignorance and Illumination: A Critical Analysis of Flannery OConnors Short Story, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
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"Innocence, Ignorance and Illumination: A Critical Analysis of Flannery OConnors Short Story, A Good Man Is Hard to Find"

Download file to see previous pages The story is set in Atlanta, sometime in the 1940’s or early 50’s. This is based on the facts that the story was first published in 1953 and the song Tennessee Waltz was released in 1946. A family decides to drive to Florida for a three-day vacation. However, the children’s grandmother derails their plan, and the whole family ends up being murdered. The characters in the play are a nuclear family composed of a father (Mr. Bailey), his wife, a baby; two kids (John Wesley and June Star), Mr. Bailey’s mother, and a gang of three led by the Misfit. Other characters are Pitty Sing, the grandmother’s cat, Red Sammy Butts, the owner of a roadside filling station, Red Sam’s wife, and a Negro child. The whole story is centered on the grandmother as the main character, with the Misfit playing a second leading role.
When Marxist criticism is applied to this story, one realizes that the grandmother thinks of herself as belonging to a superior class and tends to frown upon others as belonging to a lower class. She dressed up for the trip in fine clothing that at the time was usually associated with elite ladies. She frowns at John Wesley’s offhand remarks about Georgia and Tennessee and remarks how the black people from the country do not have as much as their family does. Her reference to the Negro boy as “pickaninny” also points to her regard of black people as lower class beings. She goes further to tell the story of how a Negro boy ate a watermelon left for her on her doorstep. She alludes to her past as a maiden lady being wooed by a gentleman who died quite a wealthy man. The obsession with wealth and status reveals itself in comments made by June Star. Her repeated claims of opting to maintain her status even if she were offered a million dollars point to her innocence and a materialistic upbringing. In her ignorance, she is of the opinion that having a million dollars is the best thing to have. Red Sammy’s wife thinks no one is trustworthy, including her husband. Everyone seems to want more than they deserve. Red Sammy is of the opinion that modern people have no sense of class, self-worth, or honor. Even those who dress and talk well are just out to rob. He tells the story of the two mill-workers who purchased gas on credit and have never returned to settle their bill. He and the grandmother then begin discussing better times, declaring that all their current problems in society were a result of Europeans begging for money from Americans. The grandmother thinks of life as a plantation owner, glamorous and classy. When asked where the plantation went, she explains it by using the title of a book that depicts the life of a daughter of a spoiled plantation owner, Gone with the Wind. Her awe at seeing the six graves and her memories of one such plantation fuels her desire to visit an old plantation. She conjures up an excuse to lead the family from their path towards Florida to go for a sightseeing mission. She plays on the children’s value of wealth by talking about a fictitious silver treasure buried in some secret panel. The grandmother thinks that the Misfit must be a good man, because he seems like he is not of common blood. She thinks he must come from nice people. These statements show ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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