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A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories (1955)

by Flannery O'Connor

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3,692882,842 (4.15)234
Flannery O'Connor's vision of life is expressed through grotesque, often comic situations in which the principal character faces a problem of salvation: the grandmother, in the title story, confronting the murderous Misfit; a neglected four-year-old boy looking for the Kingdom of Christ in the fast-flowing waters of the river; General Sash, about to meet the final enemy.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
I remember loving the stories "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People" when I first read them in college. I can't believe it took me this long to finally read the whole collection. ( )
  SarahMac314 | Aug 12, 2022 |
3.5 stars

A gritty Southern tale that begins in humor and ends in pathos. I confess to feeling a genuine chill at the end and wondering if this story wouldn't have more impact now than when it was written, since serial killers and gruesome murders are more common now than they would have been then. Of course, the country had just come through the bloodiest and cruelest of wars when this was written, so perhaps therein lies the inspiration.

I hate to admit it, but Flannery O'Connor is really not my style. I have tried her a number of times and over the course of decades, and I just cannot connect. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Flannery O’Conner packs dynamite into her short stories, and this one is no exception. It is a story about redemption, salvation, opportunity, and what one man does with those things. It might also be a bit of caveat emptor...sometimes your instincts might be quelled by your desires. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
A collection of short stories, all taking place in the South in the late 1940s. For some reason I thought these would be fun stories - maybe because of all the jokes based on the title. But no - these were all grim, sad, depressing tales.

Each story had its own cast of characters, and out of the dozens of people depicted in this book there was not one single likable character. They were all some combination of selfish, mean, dishonest, law breaking and just plain awful.

It took a while to get into the swing of this book. Once I realized that every story had a terrible ending, I started to become fascinated by just how horrible these people were to each other.

I do think the place and time gave some interesting intersections: Post WWII veterans returning to the depressed economy in the South; Post reconstruction South just heading into full-on Jim Crow; Lots of roaming, displaced people - in one story actual WWII survivors from Poland. All these theme collide in disastrous ways through this book.

I gave this book 5 stars - the stories were impossible to put down and I think some of them will stay with me for a long time. ( )
  sriddell | Aug 6, 2022 |
Flannery O'Connor is known for writing in Southern Gothic tradition. The subject matter she chooses for this set of short stories falls into the category of grotesque, evil, and unthinkable. The characters express disturbing thoughts, and reading literary analysis helps one understand that many of her stories are supposed to remind us of a Bible or religious lesson. Many messages boil down to good vs. evil or exaggerate sinfulness with the outrageous characters. Flannery exposes the hypocrisies of human beings and enjoys showing how little control people have over their lives. She seems especially fond of showing how supposed intellectuals and wealthier folks have no more control over their fate and safety than those who are "country folks" and less fortunate.

The names are generally symbolic, and colors play an essential role in the descriptions and meanings of the stories. For example, in this set of stories, the word black appears 93 times, red 84 times, and white 76 times. Other colors also describe people, clothing, weather, objects, and scenery. It seems that O'Connor writes with vivid, colorful images to demonstrate how humans operate in concrete and abstract ways.

Racism is a theme in almost every story, and much of the language exposes racism cruelly and offensively. Not only is racism conveyed in the way the characters act, but also xenophobia. Country people fear those in the cities and vice versa. Additionally, characters express outright hostility toward anybody different from themselves. Nevertheless, O'Connor's eloquent writing demonstrates a range of human foibles and limitations to readers willing to see beyond the stereotypic characters. See my reviews at https://quipsandquotes.net/ ( )
  LindaLoretz | Feb 13, 2022 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Sally and Robert Fitzgerald
First words
The grandmother didn't want to go to Florida.
Quotations
She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.
...an end that would be welcome because it would be the end.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Flannery O'Connor's vision of life is expressed through grotesque, often comic situations in which the principal character faces a problem of salvation: the grandmother, in the title story, confronting the murderous Misfit; a neglected four-year-old boy looking for the Kingdom of Christ in the fast-flowing waters of the river; General Sash, about to meet the final enemy.

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Book description
This is the book that established Flannery O'Connor as a master of the short story and one of the most original and provocative writers to emerge from the South. Her apocalyptic vision of life is expressed through grotesque, often comic, situations in which the principal character faces a problem of salvation: the grandmother, in the title story, confronting the murderous Misfit; a neglected four-year-old boy looking for the Kingdom of Christ in the fast-flowing waters of the river; General Sash, about to meet the final enemy.
"The Displaced Person," the story of an outsider who destroys the balance of life between blacks and whites on a small Southern farm, has been adapted into a powerful drama for television.
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Legacy Library: Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Flannery O'Connor's legacy profile.

See Flannery O'Connor's author page.

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