Religious Symbolism in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" Essay

1264 Words Apr 26th, 2011 6 Pages
Religious Symbolism in the Grandmother and the Misfit
Flannery O’Connor has long been criticized for her blatant incorporation of religious symbols into sinister, dark stories. In the short story “A Good Man Is Hard To Find,” the dark and apathetic Misfit is said to portray, in an allegorical sense, a Christ-like figure. However, through the interpretation of the inversions of divine characteristics, his repulsion of Christ’s very existence, and the denial of any powers beyond the observable realm, we find that the Misfit is actually representative of the Anti-Christ.
Religion symbolism appears often in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”; the first appearances of religious symbolism are presented with the speech of the grandmother. In her
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O’Connor is able to convey the true repugnance of Jesus by the Misfit when the Misfit says:
“Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead,’ The Misfit continued, ‘and He shouldn't have done it. He shown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it's nothing for you to do but thow away everything and follow Him, and if He didn't, then it's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can-by killing somebody or 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.” (645)
The tone of the Misfit’s speech is what ultimately makes him the allegorical Anti-Christ. The hate and bitterness of his “snarl” is the final implication as to how the Misfit feels about religion (O’Connor 645). Bellamy insists that the reason for the devilish message in the Misfit’s speech is due to his mission to play to role of the Anti-Christ. Bellamy asserts that, “The central message of the Misfit’s sermon, for a sermon is what his remarks amount to, is a familiar one in Flannery O’Connor’s fiction; there is no middle ground between absolute belief in Christ’s messianic fiction and a belief that like is nasty, brutish, and short,” (200). Katherine Feeley notes that the Misfit “embodies all reason and no faith,” which is the opposite of the faith-based

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