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A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Marry Flannery O'Conner

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"No Pleasure But Meanness"

"A Good Man is Hard to Find", by Marry Flannery O'Conner is a short story about a family taking a road trip to Florida, while on the road trip they get into an accident, and are met by the Misfit a recent escapee of the Federal Pen. Throughout the story the O'Conner uses characters, places, actions, events and events as symbols to move the plot along and give deeper meaning to the events being unfolded. Aspects of the setting, Pitty Sing, the cat, and the Misfit are all symbols that either drive the plot forward or give insight into the underlying messages hidden throughout the story.

There are many aspects of the setting that symbolize imminent danger and foreshadow a grim and disastrous ending for the family taking the road trip. For instance when the family crashed they were in the town of Toombsboro which indubitably resembles the word tomb. The word tomb can only symbolize one thing and that is death. Another object in the story that symbolizes doom and destruction was the car that the Misfit drove; the car was described as a "big black battered hearse" (270), a hearse is the type of car that is used for carrying the dead from the morgue to their final resting place, and is yet another symbol of death. The forest that family was stuck in was the last aspect of the setting that alluded to a more than dismal ending. O'Conner described the forest as, "tall dark and deep" (270). This description leads the reader to have a negative outlook on the forest. Without the fear of death hanging over the characters in the story the plot would lose its sense of urgency and the overall tone of the story would be dull and uninteresting.

The cat, Pitty Sing one of the less talked about characters in the story also carries a symbolic significance. Pitty Sing was symbolic of Jesus or the idea of Christianity. The cat is originally brought on the trip because the grandmother says, the cat would miss her too much, however it is easily understood that the cat was brought purely as a crutch or comfort item. The grandmother uses Pitty Sing as a comfort item or crutch, in a way that parallels many peoples use of religion today. Pitty Sing has more than one role as a symbol in the story. He moves the plot on physically by jumping out of the basket and attaching himself to Bailey, the driver of the car, causing the car to turnover, and he also gives deeper insight into the event taking place. After the dust from the accident clears and the car settled to a halt, O'Conner describes the driver's reaction by saying, "Bailey removed the cat from his neck with both hands and flung it out the window against the side of a pine tree."(270). After this the cat is not heard about for some time and the reader is lead to believe the cat did not survive, and died on the tree. This is where Pitty Sing truly begins to parallel Jesus Christ; Jesus was crucified on the cross which is commonly referred to as a tree, due to its construction of rough cut trees. After the Misfit and his goonies are done murdering the family, the cat reappears at the feet of the misfit. In short, Pitty Sing reincarnates himself after being crucified on a tree and then goes straight for the nearest sinner, rubbing his face between



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