A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “where Are You Going, Where Have You Been
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“A Good Man Is Hard To Find” and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”
While reading, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” the readers find themselves lost in worlds of suspense, horror and comic relief through tone and symbolism. Although, the stories contain very different plots, they both have a sense of “good vs. evil.”
In “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”, Grandmother is a deep religious character that gives the story a depth of interest. The reader gets the religious aspect of Grandmother through her actions such as her continually use of the word “Jesus”, the conversation with the Misfit, and in the name of her grandson, John Wesley. Although, Grandmother is devoted to her faith, she fears death. During the accident, the children seem to be delighted, but OConner seems to want to let the reader know that nothing happens by accident. Grandmother claims the Misfit as her own child. This seems to imply that Grandmother see the Misfit as Bailey, her son, since the Misfit has informed the reader that he has come from a good family and at the end of the story he is wearing Baileys shirt. OConner never mentions the name of the Baileys wife, only refers to her as “the childrens mother.” The reader gets the feeling that the mother is not a relevant character in the story. She is even described as “broad and innocent” face like a “cabbage.” However, Mother played the role of a comforter to June during the execution. Mother took Junes hand and led her, with help from the Misfit companions, into the woods. At the end of the story after shooting Grandmother, the Misfit says, “She would have been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” This statement leaves the reader with the feeling that Grandmother was never silent about any of her opinions or comments no matter if the person she was talking to wanted to hear her comments or not.
In “Where Have You Been, Where Are You Going” Oates takes the reader on a journey of a fifteen year old girl looking to find her own path in life. This story has many symbols in it that help the reader get the psychological aspect of the characters. Connie, the main character, is already struggling to become independent by sneaking way to date boys. She continually struggle with her mother over being more like her sister, June, whom her mother feels is a good example. Her father is never in home due to work and when he is home, the girls do not relate to him. When Arnold Friend shows up, uninvited, the reader learns through the conversation that Arnold is not a friend, but has come to harm Connie. Connie feels safe in the house and does not come out until Arnold convinces her to come out. She is in a state of denial believing that the house is a safe place. She continues the conversation even after the conversation has turned harsh. Although Connie is in the house, Arnold tells her not to use the phone or he will break his promise of not coming in the house. The house represents the dependence that Connie has with her family and the safety that is holds and outside is where “bad” world is. After Arnold convinces Connie to goes, the reader feels like Connie in a way, there is a sense of hopeless and defeat.
Both stories have many similarities. One way is in the way the authors wrote the stories. They are both in three-person narratives. They both have some comic relief, and they are both the showing the fight between good and evil. As a reader, we get the privilege