Monday, March 30, 2009

A Good Man is Hard to Find

I asked my students this question to front load some reading: "Have you ever connected with a book/text on a deeply personal level? Explain."

So, I felt determined to answer it myself. The first piece that jumped to mind was Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find.

While reading this piece I found it delicious, yet it's meaning came gradually. It was kind of like my brain was sucking on a fruit leather. The satisfaction constant and eventual.

It's a rather morbid story of a family murdered by The Misfit--whose name is only that (an intentional barb at labeling). The last member of the family to die is the grandmother. In her moments before death she becomes overly religious, praying emphatically, and repetitively insists that The Misfit is a good man (the very same man she was terrified to meet on their road trip). Her last words, the one's that drive The Misfit to murder her are "You're one of my own children." It is such a revelatory statement--she birthed the man figuratively. Her prejudices gave birth to The Misfit. the misfit. categorically. The murdered then says to a companion, "She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

And then the irony of the title projects itself.

A Good Man is Hard to Find.

A Good Woman is Hard to Find.

A Good Person is Hard to Find.

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