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Tragic Heroes and Narcissists sample essay

The tragic heroes and narcissists in the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor are the Grandmother and the Misfit. However, the focus is on the Grandmother and how she is in the grandiosity phase of being a tragic hero. There are personality characteristics associated with this phase, some of which the Grandmother has. She feels entitlement to get and do what she wants. In the story she takes her pet cat with her on the trip even though Bailey tells her not to. The Grandmother is a judgmental person. She judges other people based on petty things like clothes or first impressions. Finally, the Grandmother’s omniscience personality gets her killed. Right from the beginning, the reader can see the first characteristic, entitlement; appear in the Grandmother’s personality by her behaviors.

The story starts with the family preparing for a vacation to Florida. The Grandmother wants to go to Tennessee and feels she is entitled to do so. However, she can’t convince any of the family members, especially her son Bailey. The day of the trip, Bailey tells his mother that she cannot take the cat with her in the car. The Grandmother feels she is entitled to do what she wants and bring her pet so she stores the cat in a basket with a newspaper on top and puts it in the back of the car before anyone else gets in. This feeling of entitlement leads to the Grandmother’s death at the end of the short story. She accidently scares the cat who escapes the basket and jumps onto Bailey’s neck. He drives the car into a ditch where later, the Misfit and his friends appear. The Grandmother’s feelings of entitlement get herself and her family murdered.

The second characteristic the Grandmother has as a tragic hero is being judgmental. There are many examples of her judging others in the story. She wears a “nice” outfit for the trip so that if she is found dead on the side of the highway, people will know she is a lady. This is when the Grandmother compared her outfit to her daughter-in-law’s everyday clothes. She is judging her opinion of Bailey’s wife on her clothes. Another example of how she is judgmental is when they are at The Tower eating lunch.

The Grandmother starts talking to Red Sammy, the owner, about how the world is not how it used to be. She blames Europe for thinking that Americans are made of money. That is very judgmental considering that Europe can’t be blamed for making the world more unsafe than it used to be. The last time the Grandmother is judgmental is during her encounter with the Misfit. She judges him as a good man with no “common blood” who comes from a nice family. She was very wrong about that. Her judgmental attitude eventually gets the Grandmother killed.

The last characteristic the Grandmother has in the grandiosity phase of being a tragic hero and narcissist is omniscience. The Grandmother believes that she knows everything. An example of this is when she is reminiscing about her childhood. She remembers a house being in the area they are driving. She knows that Bailey will not stop for her so she lies to the children making the house seem much more mysterious than it is. She knows they will make their father go drive to it which they do.

This leads to them ending up in the ditch. Another example of how the Grandmother is a know-it-all is when the family finally meets the Misfit. She realizes she recognizes him and screams out who he is. Because they now know who he is, the Misfit has to get rid of the family. Finally, the Grandmother acts like a know-it-all when she calls the Misfit “one of her babies.” She thinks she knows who he is and decides to tell him. However, she ends up surprising him and he shoots and kills her. He was taken aback because he knew that she was correct. This is how the Grandmother’s omniscience personality gets her executed.

In “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, the two main characters are one and the same. The Grandmother and the Misfit are tragic heroes and narcissists. While the Grandmother is in more of the grandiosity phase, the Misfit is in the depression phase. Most of the story focuses on the Grandmother and how she is a tragic hero. There are many characteristics a person can have when they are in the grandiosity phase. The Grandmother showed many throughout the story including entitlement, judgmental, and omniscience. She feels that she can do and get what she wants, that she can judge people because she is a lady, and that she knows everything. These characters eventually led to her ultimate downfall at the end of the story. The Grandmother is similar to other tragic heroes who, like her, all have tragic endings.

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