In 2018, books that religion in them generated 593.7 million U.S. dollars in sales revenue. The text we will be analyzing is Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” This takes place in the present day and the genre of the story is a short story. Some characters we will be analyzing is the grandmother and The Misfit and how they play off each other throughout the story. The novel’s emphasizing of religion on the grandmother and Misfit suggest that religion has a colossal effect on both of their lives and how the grandmother can be considered a Christ character. Thomas C. Foster’s book How to Read Literature Like a Professor has a chapter about Christ character so that section influences the major characteristics in this close reading.
The first characteristic is the setting in which the story takes place. It takes place on the bank of a forest. In the Bible, the forest is the realm for death. It is called that because usually, you are out there by yourself isolated from any kind of civilization. Plus, people believe that the forest is the devil’s territory. It is considered the realm of death and the devil’s territory because people go in the forest do not come back out, so they consider them to be dead.
The second characteristic is her forgiveness to everyone around her. Throughout the story, people do not show her any respect. Even her own family does not show her any respect and the bad part is that she does not stand up for herself. One example of someone disrespecting her is when her grandson says, “If you don’t want to go to Florida, why dontcha stay home?” (O’Connor 130). She is explaining to her family that she does not want to go because the Misfit has escaped the Federal Pen. Somebody reported that he was heading towards Florida. She did not even care that he says that to her. Her only response to his comment is “Yes and what would you do if this fellow, The Misfit, caught you?” (O’Connor 130). Later, in the story she and her family run into the Misfit. She shows forgiveness to Misfit even though he kills her whole family and eventually kills her. In the New Testament, Jesus talks about how you should not hold a grudge against anybody and that you should always forgive them.
The third characteristic is the grandmother meets a devil-like character. The Misfit is the character that is devil-like. When the grandmother is telling him that he needs to pray and that Jesus would give you. His response to the grandmother telling him to let Jesus in is “I don’t want any help…I’m doing alright by myself.” (O’Connor 143). At first, she does not really notice the significance of his statement just that he does not have a positive belief in Jesus. Then he keeps going by saying, “Jesus was the Only one that raised the dead…Jesus throws everything off balance.” (O’Connor 145). Finally, after she realizes what he says she starts to doubt her Christian faith and the information she learns about Jesus. When she starts second-guessing if Jesus raised the dead or not and if anything that she learns from her past is true or not. After those thoughts start running through her head, she starts to feel very dizzy and quickly after that she falls to the ground with her legs twisted under her in a ditch. This happens because her religion plays a gigantic part in her life and the thought that something not being true just makes her feel sick. Going back to my first point, they are in a forest in which people that read the Bible interpret the forest to be the devil’s territory so why wouldn’t there be a devil-like character in “Good Man is Hard to Find.”
The final characteristic is the grandmother believing she is a disciple of Jesus. Throughout most of the story, the grandmother is telling Misfit that she knows that he comes from good people and from good blood. She tells Misfit “If you would pray…Jesus would help you.” (O’Connor 143). After Jesus died, he tells his disciples to go around telling people that if you pray to him and tell that you are truly remorseful of the sins you committed then will forgive you. Right before Misfit is going to kill her, she tells him, “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my children!” (O’Connor 145). She says this because Jesus is speaking to Misfit through her. Another reason she says this statement is because she looks over at Misfit and thinks he is crying. The reason she thinks he is crying is that he just now realizes all the sins he has committed and starts to feel remorse about them. Jesus speaks only to her because relies heavily on him and will always listen to him meanwhile Misfit is extremely closed-minded and believes Jesus is evil. This makes her a disciple of Jesus because she is preaching his word. Soon after all this happens Misfit shoots and kills her. She says all this predicting that something terrible going to happen to her at the end.
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Now the short story should show why the grandmother is a Christ character and the role she plays in the story. Some key points in this story were how she meets a devil character that tested her faith, her forgiveness to people, the location on where the main part of the story took place, and the things she says right before she met with death. The significance of this argument is that it has a major effect on the real world. It affects the real world because many people today are characterized as Christ characters. Some characteristics that qualify you to be a Christ character is being able to forgive people, if you meet someone that has majorly test your faith, and if you are a follower and you spread the word of the Bible.