Brett essay will discuss the similarities and differences

BrettHardyProfessorHibschmanEnglish15011November 2017       Both Joyce Carol Oates in “Where Are YouGoing, Where Have You Been?” and Flannery O’Connor in “A Good Man is Hard toFind” depict clear similarities and differences. The character portrayal ofConnie and Arnold Friend in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” and thegrandmother and the Misfit in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” represent a newbeginning for both Connie and the grandmother. The main characters in bothshort stories illustrate somewhat of an epiphany, both go through traumaticcircumstances to realize that their own actions decided the outcome of theirfate. This essay will discuss the similarities and differences between “WhereAre You Going, Where Have You Been?” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find.

”       Connie and the grandmother appearextremely similar, in their actions and in how they live their life. Each isput in a certain situation which later defines their harsh destinies, exposingthat the real problem is them and how they got to that place was due to theirown actions. One similarity between these characters is the fact that neitherof them seem to live in reality, Connie seems as if her life is a movie andeverything will go as the script says, she is considered fake due to her lackof originality as she poses to be someone she is not. “…one for home and onefor anywhere that wasn’t home: her walk…her mouth…her laugh, which was cynicaland drawling at home but high pitched and nervous anywhere else, like thejingling of her charms on her bracelet.” (Oates, 319) Everything about Conniehad two sides to it. While the grandmother is stuck in the past and can’t seemto grab hold of the future, when she talks to her grandkids she starts offalmost every story with “In my time” as if she’s still living in “her time.”She begins to tell a story due to John Wesley and June Star’s rudeness due tothem saying that Tennessee is a hillbilly dumping ground, “In my time, childrenwere more respectful of their native states and their parents and everythingelse.” (O’Connor, 354) She means this by saying that people or children dowrong now and did right then.

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Both seem to live in their own disconnectedworlds, almost sworn off by others.        Through Connie and the grandmotherscharacter development both realize a change in themselves just before it’s toolate. We see that the grandmother was just as bad a person as the man murderingher family. The Misfit says, “she would have been a good woman, if it had beensomebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” (O’Connor, 368) Thegrandmother could have been a good woman, this experience steered her to gainself-awareness and compassion that she had been missing her whole life untilthe moment before her death. And Connie’s attitude changes completely by theend of the story, she goes from the stereotypical teenager to the unsung herothough her death in saving her family. She’s portrayed as fake and two-facedmaking her almost unlikable to her family and making her vulnerable to ArnoldFriend, allowing her to become his next victim. Both were redeemed inconfronting the evil of their antagonists, finding that each had the ability tobecome the bigger person and allow change in someone else’s life other thantheir own.

       One difference between them that makesthem more similar is the fact that Connie is trying to grow up too soon whilethe grandmother simply never grew up or out of her old life. Although both areat different points of their life they face similar difficulties in facing theirfears. Connie’s coming of age happens when Arnold Friend enters throughConnie’s door threshold, and she allows him to symbolically step over aninvisible boundary line depleting her sense of security and privacy. Anotherpoint to add on Connie’s behalf is the conscience decision she makes to saveher family in going with Arnold Friend, the story leaves us on a cliff hangerallowing us to decide the fate of Connie in the hands of Arnold Friend.

       On the other hand, the grandmotherencounters a crisis in which she never grew up right before her death by theMisfit. Before her death she encounters a moment of amazing grace, for theMisfit as well, she says “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my ownchildren!” (O’Connor, 367) and reaches out and touches his shoulder, the Misfitquickly backs up and shoots her three times.

It was a moment of realization forthe grandmother as she sees that she loves him just like one of her own. TheMisfit kills her portraying that the feeling of love she just testified was afeeling he’s never felt. The grandmother has grown more at this moment than atany other point in her life.       The two antagonists, Arnold Friend, andthe Misfit, have certain similarities.

Each character at first glance seemed tohave innocent gestures of kindness but were later seen using that innocence toseduce the women they were pursuing. The Misfit’s actions are deceiving for thereader and grandmother, giving her, the sense of a redeeming quality while ather lasts moments he receives none and finally realizes hers. Arnold Friendappears to have more of a creepy vibe when it comes to handling Connie, heappears at first to be somewhat young, close to Connie’s age, but during theirdiscussion we realize he is much older than we thought of him to be. “…shecould see then that he wasn’t a kid, he was much older—thirty, maybe more. Atthis knowledge her heart began to pound faster.” (Oates, 325) Friend tries tolure her closer to him and when it doesn’t work he becomes frustrated. The momentFriend becomes flustered Connie is now aware of what’s going to happen andmakes the conscious decision to save her family instead of herself.

But ArnoldFriend doesn’t give in, he states that he is going to “have my arms tightaround you so you won’t need to try to get away and I’ll show you what love islike…” (Oates, 332) Giving almost the same impression as The Misfit did inthe murdering of the grandmothers’ family.        Another similarity between The Misfitand Arnold Friend is the similarity in their names, each name has a backwardmeaning that gives further detail into their characters development.  Arnold Friend’s name can simply be turned into”A Fiend”, which reverses the outer shell of his name considering its Friend.

Arnold is in fact not a friend to anyone in the story. And the Misfit’s namestates the obvious. He has simply been out of place his whole life.

“Nome, Iain’t a good man…but I ain’t the worst in the world neither. My daddy said Iwas a different breed of dog from my brothers and sisters.” (O’Connor, 364) Thegrandmother made him recognize his goodness right from the start, almostswearing that she’s positive he’s a good man, although deep down the audienceknows he is not a good man.        Each author begins their stories withthe end in mind, they present the antagonists’ evil to withdraw theprotagonists’ unfortunate truth. Both Connie and the grandmother redeem theirflawed and weak actions and behaviors by choosing someone else’s life overtheir own.

Up until both of their deaths each character defines and lives up totheir ultimate truth by defeating and overcoming it. In my opinion, both Connieand the grandmother save more than just themselves before their death. 


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