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The irony in A Good Man Is Hard to Find

New Criticism was one of the most influential schools in British and American modern literary criticism. It is originated in the United Kingdom in the 1920s and was formed in the United States in the 1930s. In the late fifties, the new criticism faded, but the semantic analysis based on text which was founded and practiced by the new criticism was still one of the basic methods of literary criticism, which had far-reaching influence on the contemporary literary criticism, especially the poetry criticism. It emphasized close functioned as a self-contained, self-referential aesthetic object.The new criticism holds that the literary works are a complete multi - level art object, which is an independent and self - contained world. The literary works themselves are the origin of literary activities. With the works as the ontology, from the literary works themselves to study the characteristics of literature have become the core of the new criticism theory. There are many analytical methods in the new critical theory,and I would like to discuss the irony. I will use the novel Good man is hard to find to specifically discuss the irony in new criticism .

Good man is hard to find is a short Novel of the famous southern Indian writer Flannery O'Connor. It tells us a story about the Berea and his family including six people traveled by car but they had an accident on the small road and they met a gang of thugs, at the last the whole family were killed . I would try to analysis the irony in this novel though its plot, character and theme . Let us begin with the plot. The first part of the novel is poised, but there is a sudden turn at last, an unexpected but sensible ,dramatic end. We can feel the irony deeply in the strong contrast between the before and the end. This novel is also the case, the beginning of this novel is a normal travel, but end with violence and death. But if we analyze it carefully, we would find that in the first half of the article, all kinds of contradictions have emerged, and in the constant hint of the end. Unexpected but in reason, let the reader feel the deep irony. At the beginning of the story, O'Connor introduces the family to readers. An ordinary family but full of contradictions. The grandmother is selfish and hypocritical; the son, and daughter-in-law does not care about their mother at all ; the grandson, granddaughter is also not respect elders. So from the description of

O'Connor, we can know that the family relationship is very indifferent. The main plot lies in the travel. At the beginning of the novel, the writer reveals that the route of this trip is the escape direction of the criminals - Florida. Travel is often considered as relaxed and happy. But at the beginning of the story, the atmosphere is very strange and dignified, there is no relation and happiness that we can feel as a normal travel should have. Grandma dressed as a lady when she traveled but the purpose of doing so to be,in case of accident, if she died on the road, past pedestrians can recognize her as a noble lady. In order to meet her curiosity, Grandma lied to the whole family to go to a desolate path which led to the final tragedy. All these preceding episodes hinted at the outcome.Through irony in the plot, the author tried to warn those hypocritical and selfish people through death and violence.

The second is the irony in the character.An important constituent element of irony is the contrast between the two factors, in the good man is hard to find, the irony effect created by opposition is clearly reflected in the shape of the image of the characters, and it also makes the characters more complete.

For example, Grandmother's behaviors are also full of many contradictions. On the one hand she teaches the children to respect their hometown, parents, and others, on the other hand, she called the black child niggers; on the one hand she said she does not want to go to Florida, on the other hand, the next morning, she is the first one go to the car; on the one hand she lamented that people was not as good as before, no one can you trust, on the other hand she called the criminals as good ones. By describing the many inconsistencies about her, Grandma's character vividly displayed in front of readers. The negative character in the novel "the Misfit" is also full of contradictions. O'Connor described the murderer "unsuitable person" as a man who had gray hair and wear silk glasses looks like a scholar, but without wearing anything on his upper body. In modern society, people wear clothes for the needs of civilization and survival, and in the " the Misfit " eyes the human civilization is degenerate. He has a scholar's appearance, but in fact, what he does is extremely violent things. Through these Ironically portrayed characters , the author wants to expose the weaknesses of these people: cold, selfish, hypocritical and so on.

The last is the irony of the theme The arrangement of the novels and the shaping of the characters services for the theme. The irony of the plot and the irony of the characters services together for the irony of the theme.

O'Connor shows us a good man's sinful world. In the novel these so-called good people who is actully proud, selfish, hypocritical, ignorant are as horrible as those fugitive criminals. Even more worse is that these people indulge in which they do not know, never reflect, but also often think themselves are good ones, and even boast of their virtues. These false virtues hindered them from salvation. In O'Connor's view, "the key to salvation is to be aware of their own evil."

O'Connor's expressed his original sin view and the concept of salvation though the irony of the subject , and let people to think about the present Society and the and Spiritual Belief.