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Compare And Contrast Analysis Of “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” By Edgar Allen Poe And The Cask Of Amontillado By Flannery O’Connor

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The difference between living a moral life compared to one full of sin and hatred is brought into light when comparing Edgar Allen Poe and Flannery O’Connor.

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In “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the grandmother seems to feel like she needs material possessions and a higher than average social status. Rather than being herself and finding positive qualities in herself and other people around her. She comes to realization of her wrongdoing before her death. She is described by her killer as “a good woman” but only after he pulls the trigger. In opposition to O’Connor’s story of salvation, “The Cask of Amontillado” looks at the effect of sins and revenge that may have a toll on a person conscience. The one major similarity between these two stories is that the authors primarily rely on irony and symbolism. However, while O’Connor reveals the ultimate redemption of one’s soul, Poe reveals the effects of the revenge on the human spirit. In these stories, both authors use symbolism to convey the theme of the story.

In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the author uses the grandmother’s hat for a symbolic meaning. Towards the beginning of the story, the grandma dresses up just in case they were to get into a car crash. She chooses to wear a feminine hat so that they could easily identify that she is a lady. The grandmother is very obsessive over her appearance. She does not take into account, which in the event of a car crash could result in her grandchildren being dead as well. When the morals of the grandmother are in competition of the morals of the Misfit, they fall apart. She begins to lose the courage and reassurance of her morals, and starts to adopt the misfit’s ways. The finical symbolic gesture, “The grandmother reached up to adjust her hat brim as if she were going into the woods with him but it came out of her hand.” (…) The hat reveals that the grandmothers believes are flimsy and collapse at the first sign of pressure.

The symbolic features in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” can also be seen in “The Cask of Amontillado.” At first when entering Montresor’s home, Fortunato realizes that the coat of arms depicting a giant gold “human foot” in a “field azure.” The azure color, is often associated with the sky, and the freedom associated by the sky. The image of the coat of arms represents the entire story, where Montresor’ obtains his freedom through revenge. This “freedom” obtained by revenge is just an attempt by Montresor to hide his true feelings, guilt. His delusion, along with the grandmothers, show that they are both dowsed in sin. The last comparison between these two stories shows that there are two possibly outcomes for having sinful behavior. Which is either salvation or damnation. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, O’Connor illustrates the change in the grandmothers behavior spectacularly. From being such a sinner to being saved by the misfit. During the grandmothers encounter with the misfit she begs for her life, with the following statement that he is “a good man.” When it became clear that she was not going to make it out of this situation alive. She realized that she is no better than the Misfit and could have easily raised a man who could be involved in what the misfit is. Though this did not stop her from being killed, she went leaving this world ready for salvation and hopefully redemption. Poe, however, contrasts this with, in that Montresor’s sinful acts result in having a lifetime of hardships. After Fortunato is imprisoned for life, Montresor’s perfect revenge momentarily slips, “My heart grew sick- on account of the dampness of the catacombs.” His guilt shows for just a brief moment. The dash midway through the sentence is believed to show a pause and or break in this thought(s). Poe illustrates the true thought process of Montresor for a brief moment before he returns to his illusion. Since, telling his tale fifty years after the incident, shows he is still bothered by what happened. This ending is the complete opposite of “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Instead of being prepped for grace, Montresor faces an eternal torment. The realization of indecency is the main contrast in the stories, the outcomes are opposites of one another.

Despite this, the themes of both stories are put into place to inform the audience of the dangers of iniquity. The difference between living a moral life compared to one full of sin and hatred. Morality is the true salvation from a life full of regret.

11 February 2020

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