The gothic and the grotesque in Flannery O'Connor's depiction of modernity in her three stories: "A Good Man is Hard to Find", "A View of the Woods" and "Revelation".

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One of the finest American modernist writers, Flannery O'Connor was probably the best known author of Southern Gothic stories. Her works fit the scheme of the Southern Gothic literature, which, unlike the Romantic Gothic literature that utilizes the supernatural, focuses on the sublime and grotesque found in reality. In her stories, the sublime is represented by the spiritual side of life, while the grotesque is symbolized by technique, material progress and disintegration of values; however, in O'Connor's three stories - "A Good Man is Hard to Find", "A View of the Woods" and "Revelation" - those two aspects are mixed with each other.

The protagonists of "A Good Man is Hard to Find" are a family - a grandmother, parents and children. However, they are not described realistically: their shapes and behaviours are somewhat distorted, causing the effect of almost cartoon-like quality; they are more types than characters. Their descriptions, especially the description of a mother, are slightly grotesque.

The main character is probably the grandmother, the most distinctive figure of the family, who sees herself as the voice of tradition and civility. She is a typical respectable elderly Southern lady type - a genteel belle preoccupied with her looks in a rather morbid way ("In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on a highway would know at once that she was a lady"). Her dressing up in case of her death can be seen as foreshadowing of the tragedy which is going to happen - a typical element of the Gothic fiction. However, her appearance does not really matter in the end (as the Misfit states, "Lady, there never was a body that give the undertaker a tip"). Vain, superficial and incapable of any introspective thought, she is a sort of a comic figure and a personified...