A Comparison of Protagonists in Flannery O'Conner's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and "Greenleaf"

2030 Words Sep 18th, 2013 9 Pages
A comparison of protagonists in Flannery O'Conner's "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" and "Greenleaf"

In both his works of fiction, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” and “Greenleaf”, Flannery O'Conner paints a rather grim picture. The protagonists in both the short stories share several common traits. In the story, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”, the Grandmother, who remains unnamed throughout, is a vile woman, who is also selfish and a complete hypocrite. Yet, she continues to judge other people for what she perceives to be their shortcomings. She is a woman who has seen hardships, and just the fact that she got through them, makes her feel morally superior to others. She feels she is a 'lady' which makes her better than the rest. She lacks the
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Greenleaf had answered her ad for help that she had been able to set up a dairy for herself. Though the story does not rally on the particular contributions of Mr. Greenleaf, it does suggest that the farm was only established upon his arrival and therefore it can be inferred that he was instrumental in its success. She, with her half baked knowledge in farming, and her lack of experience, is certainly not a good farm keeper or a farm manager. It is only the experience and the wisdom of Mr. Greenleaf that continues to make her farm successful and profitable. Her good fortune has been because of the arrival of a farmhand who is not only knowledgable, but also hard working. This is something that she ignores through the course of the story. She places a lot of value on her own perceived virtues, in this case her efforts to pull the farm together. On the other hand, she complains about Mr. Greenleaf to everyone who would turn an ear to her. Most of her blessings are undeserved, but she fails to recognize it and is certainly not graceful in her rejection of Mr. Greenleaf's contributions. As the story continues to build, Mrs. May's resentment towards Mr. Greenleaf increases. She is ultimately brought down and killed by a bull, who she wants to control. While Mr. Greenleaf views the bull as an unstoppable force of nature, Mrs. May sees it as an intruder on her property and something that she should be able to control, because of her position and her perceived abilities. In

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