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Comparing Stories - Good Country People & a Good Man Is Hard to Find

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Comparing Stories

"Good Country People" is a story of how a selfish yet smart young woman, who likes to use her disability to make others feel guilty, is left vulnerable by a man she thought was purely good. In "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" a grandmother and her family go on a trip that is set to doom them forever. The grandmother lies and makes her family go down a road that ends up being to nowhere then they run into a horrible man called "The Misfit" who has just broke out of prison. Their destiny is to die the minute "The Misfit" finds them (O'Conner 422). Although "Good Country People" and "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" have the same author they are very similar in many elements in the fact that they have a similar theme, setting and point of view.

Both of the stories have a theme of repenting protagonists in response to the wrongful deeds committed by the antagonists who do not believe in anything. The theme in "Good Country People" is revealed when Joy-Hulga becomes completely vulnerable because Manly takes her prosthetic leg and she begins to plead for him to give it back. Joy-Hulga had thought she was in control and could outsmart Manly; "'...you ain't so smart. I been believing in nothing ever since I was born'" said Manley (O'Conner 447). In "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" the Grandmother shows the most remorse when her son, Bailey, is being taken away to be killed. She then starts to repent for her own life while talking about Jesus to The Misfit. The Misfit responds by saying "Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead... and if [Jesus] 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 hour or doing some other meanness to him" (O'Conner 432). Both stories show that they have the same type of theme. O'Conner seems to like to leave the protagonist to the fate of cosmic irony.

Setting is a very important element in a story and can be a good way to compare two different stories. "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People" are both set in the rural south in the 1950's. The setting in "Good Country People" can be determined by the characters informal and colloquial diction and terms they use to describe the location. One sign that lets the readers know about the setting of "Good Country People" is when Joy-Hulga talks about her condition; "Joy had made it plain that if it had not been for this condition, she would be far from these red hills and good country people" (O'Conner 436-437). The way readers can identify that "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" has the same setting is when Grandmother and the kids argue because the kids are talking negative about their home state and where they are driving to. At one point in the argument the Grandmother says, "'I wouldn't talk about my native state that way...Georgia has the hills'"

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