The Genre of Southern Gothic in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"
“When you cross the sweeping drama of romance with the macabre isolation of small town life-and then throw in a touch of Southern whimsy-you’ve cooked up a collection of American literature absolutely unique in time, place, and sentiment, Southern gothic.” Southern gothic comes from the genre of gothic fiction, and has some type of supernatural or unusual events in it. It is characterized as having a grotesque quality yet still having enough good in it to keep readers interested. The short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Mary Flannery O’Connor, is often considered a perfect example of Southern gothic writing. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, O’Connor has characters typical of Southern gothic. Characters in this genre are
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The Misfit was in prison for murdering his father and has escaped. However he cannot remember why he was in jail in the first place. “I forgot what I done, lady. I set there, trying to remember what it was I done and I ain’t recalled it to this day. Oncet in a while, I would think it was coming to me, but it never come.” (O’Connor 1039) He escapes from prison because he does not believe that he killed his father because he says his father was a good man and he loved him. Another example of the grotesque is the killing of the family while the grandmother and the Misfit are talking. The grandmother does not even appear to care that the family is being killed except when her son dies, she shouts his name. This causes her to become frantic and try talking the Misfit out of killing her. The Misfit’s escape, the murders of the family, and the eventual murder of the grandmother are all representations of southern gothic. In contrast with the grotesque “the drama of romance” is another attribute of Southern Gothic. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” this quality is not at first apparent. However, romance can mean “a strong, sometimes short-lived attachment, fascination, or enthusiasm for something,” or “a mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous,