| Grandmother Essay
O’Connor, in her short story, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, describes the grandmother who is unnamed as a busy body, and who considers herself a lady and righteous. In the beginning of the story she is concerned that they might come face to face with the killer she has been reading about and as such she tries to convince her son to cancel the trip they had planned for Florida where the murderer could have been.As much as the writer would want to portray her as being very concerned for her family on the basis that there is a killer who had escaped from the penitentiary, she does so in an unkind way. Her main reason for worrying is not only about the serial killer but it could also be the fact that she wants things done her way. She is selfish; she clearly states that she prefers visiting her friends who live in East Tennessee. She has also been depicted as a person who cared for the happiness of her grandchildren for example; she wanted them to see the beautiful sceneries. Her preference for Tennessee is somehow genuine when she explains that her grandchildren had already been to Florida hence she did not see the need of going there again considering the risks. Stephen Bandy actually depicts her as a sentimental and vindictive busy body, self-absorbed to an extent of being amusing.
She clearly is manipulative because as she worries about the serial killer, she is quick to pass judgment to the rest of the family members.Like Stephen Bandy notes, she is a fierce fighter who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.She criticizes Baileys wife in an attempt to make her feel guilty and make Bailey change his mind about the trip. It is ridiculous that she claims that her conscience is what guides her but her conscience does not do so when she is criticizing the children and their mother.It also seems to be applied partly when she does not think she hurts Baileys wife by comparing her face to that of a cabbage. Stephen goes ahead to describe her as a woman filled with prejudices of her time and class which is true as seen when she entertains her grandchildren with the story of the nigger boy. OConnor does not depict her as so and instead wraps the old woman in the mantle of being elderly and does not blame her for being a racist.
The grandmother is full of stereotypes that she wants to impose on others. The fire-breathing woman is not hesitant in scolding Wesley for not respecting Georgia which was the homestate.She tells Baileys wife on the face that in her time she would take her children to a place that their mind would be broadened. She quickly grabs any opportunity to speak of how good people at her time which was not the case today.
OConnor gives some undeserved grace to the grandmother because it is clear from the story that she is the cause of most of their misfortunes.Stephen Bandy is right in naming her a fierce fighter. This is depicted in the first part of the story. The grandmother is told to remain behind but she cannot accept being left behind. She is the first to enter the car the next morning with the cat concealed which later makes Bailey lose control when it tries to escape causing the accident. She is also very proud; she selects the hat and dress to wear for the trip carefully and is certain that she is a lady. She considers this her most treasured virtueand is convinced that no one else can harbor the virtue. In normal situations a grandmother does not pay much attention to such fine details like in the grandmothers selection of her clothes. In Stephen Bandys view, all her actions show that she is not weak, benevolent and gentle. He instead states that the author takes a sentimental view of her just because she is a grandmother. bot %uFFFD a t 01J x%uFFFDH ext-indent:36.0pt;line-height:200%’>Oppression is a theme that Toby brings out. This occurs when his mother gets married to Dwight, a self-interested, scheming and cruel man making both Toby and his mother miserable. The memoir dwells mostly on Toby’s hopelessness and his often destructive attempts to live under the reign of Dwights terror criticizing and scolding Toby for his real and conceived flaws. Dwights angry outbursts are constantly at the forefront of Tobys mind. He allocates Tobys errands for no reason other than to display his command and control over the family. Dwight also forces Toby to distribute newspapers and afterwards takes the money that Toby has earned for himself.
The only time he expresses an actual interest in Toby is when he trains the boy how to wrestle. He is thrilled by Toby’s display of aggressiveness, especially since it will be directed against Gayle, an infamous pansy, having a transient friendship with Toby (Denby 40). The puritans, like Toby, have undergone the same cruel circumstances where they first started being mistreated by their employers. Hughes notes that there was slavery; and the government itself was majorly responsible for upholding the system. Being central to this Myth of the Chosen Nation is the idea of national convention, in which the dwellers live impartially (Hughes 93).
Toby attempts to remake himself. Repeatedly, Toby recreates his past and experiments with different images in quest of a respectable standing. As Wolff states, I did not know who I was, any image of myself, no matter how grotesque, had power over me. Toby goes from Boy Scout to an offspring of Prussian aristocrats, to a crook, to Tobias Wolff. Each of these personalities allows him to be related to different classes. Instead of challenging the class structure that lessens his value, Toby attempts to re-envision himself to match that structure.
Toby gets the chance to leave Concrete and establish a new life when he is accepted to the elite Hill School. Before he leaves home for Hill, his mother arranges for him to temporarily stay with Chuck Bolger after Dwight has shoved him in her presence. Although Toby has promised his mother that he will be on his best behavior, while being at Bolgers, he breaks his promise when he steals the gasoline from a nearby Welch farm. He feels regretful about stealing from the Welch, but cannot bring him to make an apology. This annoys him and he neglects his learning. The study does not last for a long time, and he ends up being recruited in the army, where he serves in the Vietnam War. Here, finally, he feels a sense of relief. He feels as at home (Wolff 23).
The Myth of the Chosen Nation initially appeared among the Puritans. They alleged that God has selected them to “love brotherly without dissimulation” and to “bear one another’s burdens”. To them, being elect means that, “chosen for the good of the neighbor”. Insofar as, their practice was consistent with these principles, this understanding was correct. However, just like Toby, the Puritans broke with this myth by stealing the possessions of Native Americans where they had settled (Hughes 40).
In conclusion, Tobias effectively makes use of the Myth of the Chosen Nation through the themes of oppression, pursuance of good life and optimism. This book offers a useful breakdown of how Americans see humanity, and why they tend to perceive it as they do now. America is depicted as the land of opportunity where everyone may achieve his or her appropriate rewards through the assiduousness and hard work.
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