The Elements Of Suspense In Flannery O Connor's A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Superior Essays
Many interesting points and ideas are discussed in Flannery O’Connor’s essay “The Element of Suspense in ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’”. These ideas are not only concurrent with O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, but they can also be broadened and applied to all aspects of literature. O’Connor’s primary theory; one that I believe is prevalent not only in writing, but in everyday life, states that violence is the only thing capable of bringing a person back to reality, it is the only thing that can strip away somebodies personality, and leave behind only their basic and primal instincts; it leaves behind their true essence. O’Connor goes on to explain that “the man in the violent situation reveals those qualities least dispensable …show more content…
Coraghessan Boyle shows another great example of the role that violence plays on character development. In this short story, three hood rat boys cruise around the town pretending to be tough guys. They partake in underage drinking, and smoke marijuana, and act like “greasy characters” but in reality they are not. Their parents pay for their education, and they read Andre Gide in their free time. The real action happens when they arrive at the greasy lake and mistake someone else for their friend. Trouble ensues, and it’s obvious that these three boys have never been in a fight before. In fact, the main character surmises this while reminiscing about the last time he was in a fight which was in the sixth grade. After getting this far into the story it is very apparent that these three boys are not the definition of “greasy characters”, they’re just a bunch of boys who are trying to act like tough guys. However things take a turn when during the fight the main character takes out a tire iron and hits his opponent on the head so hard that he rips out a tuft of hair. At this moment of violence, the boy somehow manages to be present enough in the situation to remember that he has a tire iron in his car, and is able to swing it with such force that he knocks his opponent out. This moment shows the main characters true self. Perhaps all the talk of being a greasy character was true. After the fight the boys are convinced that they’ve killed their attacker and their primal needs and true selves come out entirely. This is shown in the attempted rape scene which follows the fight. This moment strips down the three boys and leaves nothing but their caveman instincts; they see the girl in the car as a piece of meat and they all want to have their way with her. This is shown even through their word usage, calling the girl a “fox.” The boys are so riled up after the fight that all reason escapes them and they are left with nothing but

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