January 20, 2013

Short Story Sunday- Week 3

One of the things I wanted to get back to this year was short stories.  Therefore, I created Short Story Sunday, where I will read and review a short story once a week. 

#3  A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Conner
The story was about a family- a man and a wife, their three children, and a grandmother- who went on a trip to Florida.  The grandmother did not want to go to Florida, she wanted to go to Tennessee because in Florida there was a man who had escaped from prison called The Misfit.  But they went to Florida anyway and they ran into the Misfit. 

And what happens makes absolutely no sense at all to me.  

I don't understand the point of the story.  I saw someone say about it that, "the serial killer was terrifying, all the more so for his politeness, and after a reader is likely to reexamine their entire existence."  I have no idea why.  Maybe someone can explain it to me?


  1. Certainly not a cheery start to my Sunday. My first reaction: "Okay, that happened..." My second reaction: "I don't think I've ever read any Flannery O'Connor before. To Wikipedia!"

    **spoiler below**

    If I take into account that Flanney O'Connor was fairly religious, I could argue that the story is pro-religion. Without it, all there is take pleasure in is meanness, despite whether you're a good "man" or not.The Misfit seems to say that religion is unbalancing and he finds no evidence of it in his life. The story backs him up. The grandmother is contrary, the children are gleefully horrid, and Bailey's pretty much a grump as well. Since the characters meet a poor end, I'd guess that the author is saying that this is not the way to live. (Definitely not my personal philosophy...)

  2. So I guess that is why the grandmother lives? Because she was cheery? I think O'Connor was very religious, but so much in Christianity does not equate goodness with salvation. I think it is a very odd contradictory message.

  3. Grandmother doesn't live though... "The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest." I think that's the end of her. Generally, I'd much rather a story just tell me what it's going to tell me. This story is grim any way it's read. I also found it kinda odd that other than June Star, none of the female characters had names. Even the mother was "the children's mother." I don't know what to make of that.

  4. That's what you get for not listening to your grandma.

  5. Oops, you are right on that. I didn't remember that part correctly. Well, I often find nuances and subtleties exciting but these were odd to me.

  6. I read this short story years ago for school. I found it difficult to read because it seemed that their fate was sealed the moment they met the Misfit....possibly even the moment they tried to avoid meeting him by changing their plans. I think the story is about destiny, and free will, if I remember the dialogue properly. It wasn't a nice story, it is dark and full of evil, and it is true in that each of the characters is precisely drawn so that they don't need names - or possibly, that the names don't matter, it was the actions that matter.

    Hmm. It is one of those that stayed with me, like Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.

    1. I prefer The Tell-Tale Heart! It does seem to be about destiny and how we cannot escape it even if we try. That's scary to me!


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