A Good Man is Hard to Find: Symbolism and Theme of Violence

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 688 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 688|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Symbolism in Victory Lap
  3. Literary Elements in A Good Man Is Hard to Find
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works Cited


In this paper, I will explain the theme of 'violence' in the stories 'Victory Lap' and 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find.' Depending on the situation, violence might be used for good or for self-protection, but it is always perceived negatively. In both stories, violence takes place in different situations, developing symbolism and influencing characters' conceptions and behavior. Violence helps determine the good and evil nature of an individual, depending on how they behave or react. The story 'Victory Lap' is written by George Saunders and revolves around the 15-year-old girl Alison, who is kidnapped, and her teenage neighbor Kyle. The second story, 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find,' is written by Flannery O'Connor and is based on a shocking event that happens to a family traveling from Tennessee to Florida for summer vacation. In the upcoming paragraphs, I will present my viewpoint with literary elements.

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Symbolism in Victory Lap

In this paragraph, I will focus on the story 'Victory Lap,' where the author employs a third-person point of view, delving deeply into the characters' minds and emotions. The story begins with 15-year-old Alison, who dreams of being carefree and enjoying the beauty of the world, symbolized by her imagining a 'baby deer trembling in the woods.' Alison loves her house, teachers, and school friends, and enjoys gossiping with her aunties. On the other hand, she views Kyle as 'the poor goof' and considers him backward-leaning. Although they grew up together and were childhood friends, Alison never saw herself going out with him. However, when a meter reader, who is actually a kidnapper, tricks Alison into coming outside, she is forced at knifepoint to step toward his car. Interestingly, one of the kidnappers makes mistakes and leaves the car door unlocked, allowing Alison to escape and return home safely. From the window, Kyle witnesses the strangers outside Alison's house and initially hesitates to take any action. However, he later decides to call 911 and takes a brave step to save his friend, engaging in violence to protect her. This act of violence shocks everyone, especially their parents.

Literary Elements in A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Moving on to the short story 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find' by O'Connor, the author uses a third-person point of view with limited omniscience, centred around the grandmother. The story is set in a location with trees, sunlight, and hills. The journey undertaken by the family during the vacation is described, with the grandmother making judgments about people based on their behavior. She often speaks at length about the decline of civility and obedience in society. The vacation seems to be going well until the family encounters the Misfit, an escaped prisoner. The grandmother, who had a negative feeling about him, tries to manipulate him not to harm her by emphasizing that he has 'good blood.' However, her selfishness is exposed as she never mentions anything about her family's safety. The story delves into the consequences of violence on moral judgments and reveals the dual nature of humanity.

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In both stories, the authors explore the theme of violence to create engaging narratives with impactful messages. 'Victory Lap' portrays violence as a means of protection, while 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find' shows how violent events challenge moral judgments. The literary elements employed by the authors help to effectively convey the impact of violence on characters' behaviors and beliefs.

Works Cited

  1. Bandy, Stephen C. “One of My Babies’: The Misfit and the Grandmother.” Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 33, no. 1, Winter 1996, p. 107. EBSCOhost,
  2. Johnson, N. A., Wolfe, S. R., Kabir, H., Andrade, G. A., Yap, G. P., Heiden, Z. M., Moberly, J. G., Roll, M. F. and Waynant, K. V. (2017), Deconvoluting the Innocent vs. Non‐Innocent Behavior of N, N‐Diethylphenylazothioformamide Ligands with Copper Sources. Eur. J. Inorg. Chem., 2017: 5576-5581. doi:10.1002/ejic.201701097
  3. O’Connor, Flannery. “A good man is hard to find”. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, Edited by Richard Bausch and R.V. Cassill, W.W. Norton and Company, 2015, pp. 611-621.
  4. Saunders, George. “Victory Lap”. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, Edited by Richard Bausch and R.V. Cassill, W.W. Norton And Company,2015, pp. 710-721
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Symbolism and Theme of Violence. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from
“A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Symbolism and Theme of Violence.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023,
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