Comparison essay on O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and Faulkner's "Barn Burning"

Essay by TuffYellowGirlCollege, Undergraduate December 2002

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I chose to write a comparison essay on Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and William Faulkner's "Barn Burning". Both of these stories share central characters with similar personalities as well as similar themes and conflicts through the stories.

The Grandmother, in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find", is an old woman with old-fashioned ideas and manners. She considers herself to be a good person, but she is also very selfish and manipulative. She makes up lies to get what she wants, such as when she tells the children about a secret panel in the plantation house that she wants to visit just to intrigue them into wanting to stop there. She tries to come across as an honest and holy religious woman, when in actuality, she is just the opposite. She uses the term "good man" quite loosely whenever she wants to please a man.

Sarti's father Abner, in "Barn Burning", also posses the same two character flaws as the Grandmother, selfishness and manipulativeness. He uses his authority as an adult and as a father to put guilt trips on Sarti. He tells him that no matter what, he should never go against his own blood because blood is thicker than water.

Another similarity in the two characters is that they are both responsible for the actions that take place throughout the stories. The Grandmother is constantly trying to direct the family's vacation and tell them what to do. She feels that she knows best because she is old and wise. This is ironic because listening to the Grandmother is what gets the family into the predicament in the end. Because she insists on visiting the old plantation house, the family winds up getting lost. Because she sneaks her cat along for the...