Monday, January 28, 2013

Short Story Review


A Good Man is Hard to Find 
Flannery O'Connor
2012


Although a mad killer, The Misfit, is on the loose, his presence does not faze a family's road trip adventure in which they aspire to make memories.  As much as the grandmother wishes to go to Tennessee, her home-state, the colossal family of several grandchildren, and their mother and father decide to vacation to Florida instead.  In fear of the Misfit, the grandmother dresses dainty and feminine, it case her body later needs to be recognized.  They start their journey, where they later stop at "The Tower" and meet Red Sammy, another in which gossip of the Misfit can be shared with. Later, the grandmother convinces the children's father to stop by at her old house to reminisce, before she later has an embarrassing discovery, jumping in her seat, eventually causing a terrible car crash.  The family resides in a ditch, later to be visited by a car containing three men (the Misfit, and his minion)s who kill everyone in the family relentlessly, regardless of any persuasions made by the grandmother to devote themselves to Jesus.

As much as I enjoy reading short stories and find them interesting,  I find myself completely confused in stories like this when the meaning/moral is hidden behind such a gruesome tale.  The idea that the Misfit was almost feeling some sort of remorse for the grandmother after he shot her was definitely significant to the story because it's proof that he has undergone a change.  It made a bold impression from the kind of suspense it had-- trying to live a life with a murderer lurking around.  It without a doubt held my attention to the very end because the scene with the Misfit and the family was extremely prolonged; a few pages.

Passage One: Meaning

"'Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead.' the Misfit continued,'and He shouldn't have done it.  He thrown everything off balance.  If He did what He said, then it's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can-- by killing somebody of burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him.  No pleasure but meanness,' he said and his voice had become almost a snarl" (798).

This passage is extremely important to the reason why the story has been written.  It reveals the Misfit's thinking and reasoning as to why he is lashing out at the cruel world he has lived in-- he believes that God has denied and betrayed him, leaving revenge as the only way to get any pleasure out of life. He kills people to get that pleasure, to make God mad.

Passage Two:  Biggest Character Change

"His voice seemed about to crack and the grandmother's head cleared for an instant.  She saw the man's face twisted close to her own as if he were going to cry and she murmured, 'Why, your're one of my babies. You're one of my own children!' She reached out and touched him on the shoulder."  I read some online reviews on this story and the opinion about the change in the grandmother was unanimous. In the beginning, she was terribly afraid of the Misfit and was disgusted by his name. In her last moments, she reached her hands out to the Misfit, recognizing the pain he has been through, "a final act of grace and charity", understanding and practically feeling sympathetic for him.  The Misfit has also undergone a change, actually contemplating about the victim he's killed, saying that she (the grandmother) would have been a good lady if someone would shoot her everyday (was mean to her).  He seemed to also feel remorse towards her.


To best communicate the main ideas of the story, the author has provided incredible detail in every paragraph, from the setting to the characters, to the dialogue.  Events unfold as the grandmother expresses her desire to go to Tennessee instead of Florida, and after the final decision was made to go to Florida. The entire family gets squeezes into the car, the grandmother dressed in such a way to be recognized as a lady in case she is killed.  She fears "The Misfit", a killer on the loose.  Although the story revolves around the suspense of the Misfit's presence, surprisingly the author goes in depth with the detail of the setting and the drive to Florida.

Overall, the language and grammar used was simple and easy to understand for me.  The suspense was very good-- I absolutely felt like I needed to finish the whole thing in one sitting. The author did this by slowly leaking out some information, bits at a time, to build the suspense.  This technique would definitely help me while writing my story, to assure that the story is interesting by the suspense it has.  There is a substantial amount of dialogue, and what is there is helpful to the reader.  It helps us better understand the characters.

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