Comparing “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and “Young Goodman Brown”
If he is guilty of the same exact thing, why is he so judgmental and so cruel to his wife? The stories “A Good Man is hard to find ”by Flannery O’Connor by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and “ Young Good Man brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne takes readers on a journey of spiritual ideals that turn into a realization of human dishonesty for Brown (Hawthorne) and a new sense of compassion for Grandmother (O’Connor). Both characters share a few similarities and in the end, are faced with their own mortality. On his journey, Young Goodman Brown encounters a man with a staff with a serpent on the end. Coincidentally, Young Goodman Brown also comes across several people he knows from society. “As he spoke, he pointed his staff at a female figure on the path, in whom Goodman Brown recognized a very pious and exemplary dame ” (par 26 Hawthorne). When he depicts the man with the serpent staff as the devil, Brown comes to the realization that a lot of the people around him are sinners. This leads Brown to question the decency of the people around him. “My Faith is gone!” cried he, after one stupefied moment. “There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil; for to thee is this world given.” (par 50 Hawthorne). In the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, O’Connor depicts a family’s vacation to Florida that turned into a tragedy when they met with the Misfit, a convict who escaped from prison. The Story follows a families trip particularly the grandmother and their unfortunate run-in with a lawbreaker (Misfit) that turns deadly.
Two Similarities that both Brown and the Grandmother share are an uncompromising view of the world from the beginning of their stories that alter towards the conclusion. “On the Sabbath-day, when the congregation were singing a holy psalm, he could not listen, because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear, and drowned all the blessed strain” (par 78 Hawthorne). The Grandmother is finally able to view others with compassion “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children” (par 136 O’Connor). A key difference between the two characters is selfishness that the Grandmother exhibits as well. As her family is being systematically murdered she never begs for the misfit to spare her children or grandchildren nor does she show regard for their lives. She repeatedly questions the misfit “You wouldn’t shoot a lady, would you?”. On the other hand brown does not want to worry his wife and even keeps his journey a secret from her promising to cling to her after the night is over “she’s a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to heaven” (par 7 Hawthorne). Overall both characters end their prospective journies with a different outlook than they entered with. For Brown, he sees the evilness that everyone is capable of and for the Grandmother when facing death she is finally to able to look at others with compassion.
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