Pride As A Negative Feeling In A Good Man Is Hard To Find By Flannery O’Connor And The Necklace By Guy De Maupassant

Pride is a dangerous thing as it can blind people to the reality of life and what is actually possible. Everyone has experienced pride in one shape or another sometime in their lives as it is hard to avoid not becoming defensive or too proud about something you have either said or done. Pride could be a good thing in certain instances, but that is not the case in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” as both stories show women who are too proud to admit their own mistakes and own up to them, which causes misfortune to befall on them. “The Necklace” follows a woman, Mathilde, who wants to live a more lavish lifestyle than she can afford and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” focuses on a stubborn grandmother who’s stuck in her ways. Although pride can benefit people, the women from both stories are seen letting pride overcome them in the worst ways, which lead them to unfortunate situations that are hard to get out of.

Mathilde desperately wants to live on the wealthier side of life as she believes that she is destined for it. As she lives her life married to a clerk, “She fretted constantly, feeling all things delicate and luxurious to be her birthright. She suffered on account of the meagerness of her surroundings . . . which would have left any other woman of her class untouched, irritated and tormented her”. To cheer her up, Mathilde’s husband got them invited to a ball, but instead of being excited, Mathilde is upset and refuses to go by saying that “… I have no dress, and, for that reason, cannot go to the ball”. Mathilde ends up being convinced to go when her husband offers to buy her a new dress because she argues that “No, it’s so mortifying to look poverty-stricken among women who are rich”. This shows how Mathilde’s pride is taking over her and making her manipulate her husband into buying her a new dress because she’s unhappy with all her belongings. Mathilde’s pride also led her to borrowing a diamond necklace from her friend in order to show it off at the ball. Being so greedy and materialistic in the end caused Mathilde and her husband misfortune as they ended up losing the necklace and needing to buy a replacement, which resulted in them working tirelessly for years to pay it back, but they ended up finding out that the necklace was a fake and that they wasted all this time to correct the mistakes that her pride and greed caused.

In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” the grandmother is an old lady who won’t admit her wrongdoings and wants to save herself. As her and her family is driving to Florida for a trip, she is telling stories to her grandchildren to pass the time. She mentions a plantation that she has visited before and convinces the kids to make their dad take them there. As it turns out, she remembers that the plantation is actually in Tennessee and not Georgia, where they are currently trying to find it, but her pride overcomes her and doesn’t allow her to admit her mistake. As she comes to this realization, her feet accidentally jump up, causing the hidden cat to jump out of the valise, which scared the dad and caused him to get the car into an accident. The family then meets The Misfit, a criminal on the loose, and the grandmother begs him not to kill her by reasoning that “He wouldn’t shoot a lady” and how she knows he won’t because “She knows he is a good man”.

These two stories are very similar because they deal with prideful people, but different at the same time because of the story and characters. Both of these women are letting pride get in the way of their lives and cause misfortune to happen. Mathilde and the grandmother were both too prideful to admit their mistakes, which caused them lots of trouble. Mathilde and her husband had to live meagerly and work hard to pay back the debt caused by Mathilde’s stubbornness to admit to her friend that she lost the necklace, while the grandmother and her family all ended up being killed by The Misfit, a criminal, because she didn’t want to tell her family that they were going to the wrong place. These women were clearly too arrogant to admit their faults and ended up getting caught in unfortunate situations that were a result of their pride. These stories differed in that Mathilde was influenced by old French society, as many sought to live lavishly, while the grandmother only cared about herself and wasn’t concerned with material things due to living in the middle class in America in the 1950s. Mathilde is also clearly greedier and more materialistic, which fuel her pride, compared to the grandmother whose pride is fueled by her stubbornness to admit she’s wrong and how she’s only looking out for herself. In a way, Mathilde and the grandmother are similar in that they only care for themselves as they want things to go their way without regard to others.

In conclusion, pride can hurt people in different ways as people allow it to take over them, causing misfortunes to happen as they just won’t let go of it. As shown in both stories, being too stubborn to admit one’s mistakes leads to consequences that will greatly affect their lives and the people around them. Pride can cause a lot of harm to people’s lives and these stories showed a lesson of how people should appreciate what they have now instead of seeking for more and overcoming pride to own up to mistakes made. Whether it be dying or living in poverty, these two stories have shown the many pitfalls of pride from very different circumstances.

10 October 2020
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