Critical Analysis of O'Connor's Short Stories: Everything That Rises Must Converge, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Good Country People

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As humans, it is in our nature to have a way of characterizing ourselves than what we may be giving out to the world. In O'Connor's short stories, “Everything That Rises Must Converge” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, and “Good Country People” they show multiple characters that portray themselves in a different perspective than what they think of themselves, even though they may not be aware that they don't see themselves as a malicious person.

In the O'Connor's short stories, “Everything That Rises Must Converge”. We have Julian, a middle-age guy that lives with his mother and sells typewriters. He may think of himself as a person that is acceptable of others, unlike his mother that was racist towards people of color. In reality, though, he is as much more judgmental than his mother. “Do you have a light?” he asked the Negro.” (O'Connor. ”Everything That Rises Must Converge” p.7) By asking the black man if he had a cigarette, though it was a no smoking area. By asking him a simple question he challenged his mother by saying look at me I can interact with people of color and to challenge how she was brought up in a southern type of mindset. The light for a cigarette, even though it was a simple question it made the mother enraged. Although she claims to be able to accept people of colour without being racist. Julian the son of the woman tries to be more Acceptable, “he had sat down next to a distinguished-looking dark brown man who had answered his questions with a sonorous solemnity but who had turned out to be an undertaker.” (O'Connor. ”Everything That Rises Must Converge” p.8) Julian sees himself as a person that is accepting of others, especially people of colour. But what he doesn't see is that he judges people by their appearance like the man he had thought was a lawyer or of some prestigious profession but ended up being an undertaker. Just so he can defy his mother's Ideals that she still held within herself as if she was trapped in an older time.

In the O'Connor's short stories, “Everything That Rises Must Converge”. The story is a great example of how irony, redemption as well as the struggle of identity amongst the Mother and the son Julian.

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In “A Good Man is Hard to Find” the grandmother and the Misfit become the main focus even though there are other characters are involved in the story. Throughout the entire story, the Grandmother had this prestigious way of acting in how she would refer to the past as if it was still relevant in her life, by sharing it with her grandchildren even though the kids did not want to hear nor were they interested in what she was saying. She also had this way of thinking that was self-assertive, meaning she thought herself smarter than others. “...anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady.” (O'Connor. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” p. 2). Throughout the story, the grandmother saw herself differently than what the grandchild saw her as like. Throughout the story the grandmother has given herself an entitlement through the story. This quote it is showing how the grandmother thought herself of a higher title by dressing in such a matter, even though she only wanted to be more feminine in case she dies, which ironically she dose. As well in the quote, 'You must have stolen something,' she said. The Misfit sneered slightly. 'Nobody had nothing I wanted,' he said.” (O'Connor. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” p.5) Through the inter encounter with the Misfit, the grandmother thinks/ shows that she is better than the Misfit, by trying to convince the Misfit that he is not a bad man and that he can change. The grandmother thinks that she can out smart the Misfit but instead reminds him of his past, even though he chooses not to talk more about it but the grandmother pushes him from his calmness behavior.

In Good Country People, we have formly Joy Hopewell changed her name to an ugly name that is now Hulga because she is not beautiful anyway in her world. Hulga is a middle-aged woman that has lost her leg due to an accident in her youth. Unlike her mother, hulga doesn't believe in good country people. Something that is important and definesHulga is that she has a wooden leg, that leads her to see it as a major part of her personality through the story. That has multiple degrees and believes that she is shaped-witted compared to everyone she meets. For instance, “ ain’t so smart. I been believing in nothing ever since I was born!” (O'Connor. “Good Country People” p.18). Here the Bible-selling guy made Hulga see her true self. That she doesn't portray herself as the strong bright woman that she is. She was so blind in that idea that she manipulated him when in reality he was seducing her just to get her wooden leg. The simple action of him stealing her leg shows how he had not only played her as a fool but saw her as one too. This shows how her character is self-absorbed, that she was so focused on her act of ‘seduction’“seducing”, instead of how she truly smart witty of a person she is. That could have seen though his attire of a holy man that sells bibles. Throughout the story Hulga had this mindset that she was the brightest and that she could outsmart anybody. In comparison to when the story had started. Where Hulga was so sure of herself, “...she imagined, that things came to such a pass that she very easily seduced him and that then, of course, she had to reckon with his remorse.” (O'Connor. “Good Country People” p.12) Hulga is a person that self-stability was her nature, meaning she was resisting to change herself. So when she tried to be a person she wasn't, as to show a more feminine and happy side of herself only to fool around with the bible salesman. She is academically sophisticated but is naive to the feelings of others around her which becomes her downfall. This being the case, her wooden leg gets stolen and so does her dignity as a brilliant person. Throughout the story Hulga is seen as a cynical person by those around her but especially her mother. Although she doesn't think nor see herself as such a person.

In O'Connor's short stories, a conclusion throughout the three short stories, what that there were three characters that perceived themselves in a certain way than how others saw them. It may be that is was there a way of thinking or the way that the author was trying to make it seem as if they were cynical people when they where to bline to see the reality of it. But if O'Connor's short stories had not had these cynical characters would that lead to the lost of the story if there was no cynical challenge in characters?

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Critical Analysis of O’Connor’s Short Stories: Everything That Rises Must Converge, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Good Country People. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
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Critical Analysis of O’Connor’s Short Stories: Everything That Rises Must Converge, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Good Country People. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
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