A Good Man Is Hard To Find: the rest of the stories

When the profane and the beautiful collide, you get a Flannery O’Connor story.  When human depravity is depicted in all it’s “glory”, you get another one.  And then if you read real closely and carefully, you find a small flicker of hope, of grace, of mercy, of redemption – but then you realize you found it in a story with a racial slur in the title.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories

I finished reading O’Connor’s short story collection A Good Man Is Hard To Find and Other Stories.  I posted about the first four here.  As a whole, I would say that her stories took my breath away, but it’s really more like they knocked the wind out of me.  I couldn’t help but laugh when Joy (she renamed herself Hulga), the female atheist with a Ph.D in philosophy and a wooden leg, meets up with a Bible salesman.  I wasn’t sure who would swindle who, but I wasn’t counting on what actually happened.  In another story, an ancient Civil War veteran appears at a movie premier in Atlanta.  O’Connor never reveals the movie, but I did the math and it could very well have been the premier of “Gone With The Wind”.  At another point, boys who could have been so innocent infest a farmhouse like cockroaches while a hired hand simply states “You can’t do a thing about it.”

After I finished it, I realized the collection ends in much the same way it began.  Whether it’s The Misfit or The Displaced Person, everyone in O’Connor’s stories seems to be a little (or a lot) out of sync.  Every once in a while, Jesus comes along and “throws everything out of balance”.


2 responses to “A Good Man Is Hard To Find: the rest of the stories

  1. Hi Dale,
    Very well written post. I think it’s one of your best efforts. You’ve captured the feeling of reading O’Connor very precisely and done it (amazingly) in a short post. Well done.

    • Thank you very much, Jay! For some reason I was able to see the book as a whole instead of individual stories. Maybe she meant for it to be that way.

      And in some bizarre way, I now understand Eminem’s music better, too.

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