Fiction Essay Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner said that an author needs to “leave no space in his workshop for anything however the old verities and facts of the heart, the old axioms doing not have with any story is ephemeral and doomed- love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.” Flannery O’Connor utilizes these universal truths in her narrative, A Great Man Is Tough to Find. An old southern lady attempting to come to terms with the new culture of the south dooms her household by unwittingly leading them to come face to face with a notorious criminal called “The Misfit”.
O’Connor presses her characters to the edge using violence so that they might discover grace. In the story, there is a human versus human dispute. The grandmother continuously compares her two grandchildren with the way things used to be in her time. The grandmother says, “In my time, children were more respectful of their native states and their moms and dads and whatever else.” (O’Connor 119). The grandchildren are extremely impolite and are always speaking everything that is on their minds without a filter. There is also a human versus environment/society dispute.
The granny comes from a time where slavery still existed, or, the Old South. She was raised in a different way than her grandchildren who represent the New South. Viewing the relationship between the grandmother and the grandchildren, it appears that the cultures of the Old South and New South are polar revers. This brand new generation has various values due to the modifications that were occurring in history. Within this story there is another human versus human conflict between the household and the Misfit.
When the grandma acknowledges The Misfit and shouts it out, she instantly dooms her family. As The Misfit orders the daddy and boy to be killed first the granny tries to factor with him in order to spare her life. Frantically she states, “I understand you’re a good man. You do not look a bit like you have typical blood. I know you must come from good people!” (O’Connor 127). Surprisingly enough, the granny does not seem to be interested in saving the household from this upcoming doom. She is just interested in saving herself and that is her motivation for trying to factor ith The Misfit. Just throughout the last minutes of her life does she start to scream out for her son. The story ends tragically since the entire household is killed. The granny understood that her generation was the reason that The Misfit existed calling him “among my own kids” (O’Connor 132). This goes back to the culture of the Old South, which reproduced the next generation of the New South. The grandmother recognizes that the reason this brand-new culture is so different is because the Old South created it, old southern values were no longer appreciated.
When The Misfit shoots the grandma she “half sat and half lay in a puddle of blood with her legs crossed under her like a child’s and her face smiling up at the cloudless sky.” (O’Connor 132). In these moments after her death O’Connor offered her grace. Despite the fact that she has actually been extremely murdered she has actually been offered this peace as she looks up into the sky. In this story, Flannery O’Connor pushed her characters to the edge by using severe violence. In “A Reasonable Usage of the Unreasonable,” O’Connor discusses her reasons for doing this.
O’Connor writes, “I have actually discovered that violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to truth and preparing them to accept their minute of grace.” (O’Connor 1048). The granny’s violent murder offered her grace and clearness. O’Connor likewise shows us that there are people that fear just for themselves and not others and that sometimes disaster takes place although it is unfair. But another thing O’Connor reveals us is that much like how tragedy takes place, grace is also given to those who do not deserve it.