How does the family in "A Good Man is Hard to Find'' compare with the famly in "Barn Burning" by Faulkner?  

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

About the only comparison I can see between the two families is that they are led into trouble by family elders. The grandmother in O'Connor's story accidentally causes the family's demise because she wants to visit a place she thinks she remembers; her self-centered behavior and unfortunate habit of speaking before thinking leads to their encounter with the deadly Misfit. Bailey's children are annoying and poorly disciplined; their parents pay their bad behavior little attention. The family is depicted more humorously than maladjusted. It's the shocking ending that surprises us.

Faulkner's story portrays a miserable Snopes family at the mercy of a malicious father who is cruel to his family and commits petty crimes, even demanding his son Sarty to lie for him. Sarty, the youngest, is especially the victim of abusive discipline. This family suffers; we see no humor here. They have to live in pitiful circumstances because of Abner's vicious ways. Although Sarty wants to be proud of his father as a war veteran, he is confused by Abner's harshness and anger.

The grandmother and her family all die ironically, but Sarty, who alerts Major de Spain to Abner's intent to burn his barn, escapes his cruel life. Faulkner's characters don't seem to deserve death while Abner, the only character to die in "Barn Burning," does.

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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