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What are the similarities between "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Revelation"?

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While the stories have a similar narrative structure, they are also extremely different. Mrs. Turpin's story is more of a satire, whereas "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is more of an ironic comedy. While both have very comedic moments and the same kind of ironic ending, "Revelation" has greater social commentary.

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The two stories follow an extremely similar narrative structure, with almost indistinguishable protagonists. These protagonists are older women who do not understand or attempt to understand the way that the world has changed around them or even viewpoints from different walks of life than their own. Both are met with something of an ironic "message from god" at the end of their respective stories.

For the Grandmother in "A Good Man is Hard to Find," this epiphany costs her her life. After subverting her son's wishes at every turn through almost childish acts, (such as insisting that they sight-see at a house that is implied to not even be there, as well as causing her son's car to crash by stowing away her cat), the grandmother finds herself face to face with a serial killer known as "the misfit." As he explains that his existence is at odds with the miracle of Christ, the misfit systematically murders the grandmother's entire family. Realizing that it was her ignorance and naivete that created this situation, the mother is struck by a touching revelation of togetherness, and feels a kinship with the man that is about to take her life.

For Mrs. Turpin, while her stakes are certainly much less severe, the confrontation with her faith is one that is far more condemning. After an unnecessary and obviously theatrical series of pontifications on traditional values, as well as condemnations of people she calls "white trash," Mrs. Turpin is attacked by a college-aged girl who is no doubt frustrated by the fascicle and survace-level nature of her "virtue." Unlike the grandmother, Mrs. Turpin is completely unsure of why the young girl would attack her. She truly believes that she is a model Christian. As she contemplates the attack as a sign from God, her epiphany reveals that the people she looked down upon had a clearer place in heaven than she ever did. In the end, she is angry with God.

The similarity between the two is that they are both superficial and narrow women who are only brought to spiritual truth by incidents of extreme adversity and even violence. It takes the shattering of their normal lives and illusions of safety to show them the truth of themselves.

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These two Flannery O’Connor stories share several features. Most notably, each has an unpleasant female protagonist who has a rigid view of social status that includes a highly flawed self-image. Each is placed in a situation through which she might gain insight, but she fails to do so and retains a narrow view of her own supposedly-elevated place in the world. In one case, this failure results only in a nightmare, but in the other, it causes several death.

The grandmother in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” seems obsessed with “goodness,” which she equates with “blood,” a concept that includes ancestry and socialization. Because she characterizes the Misfit as a “good man,” she cannot understand why his behavior will not match her preconception. He is not interested in her narrow worldview, and her expressions of condescending superiority probably just fuel his homicidal urges.

Ruby Turpin in “Revelation” obsessively categorizes people according to their appearance and her knowledge of their social status. Her observations of Mary Grace, a young woman in the doctor’s waiting room, privilege her looks over her intellect: Ruby sees having acne as more important than attending a Seven Sisters college. O’Connor seems to imply that Mary Grace can read Ruby’s thoughts; she both insults and physically attacks her, verbally sending her “back to Hell.” Back home, Ruby cannot process the day’s events rationally but only through her unconscious. She inverts the student’s curse in dreaming of lining up for Heaven, where those she deems inferior take the lead—not only Mary Grace, but African Americans and “white trash.” Rather than adjust her vision of humanity to be more egalitarian, she remains convinced that she and those she considers like her are “first” on earth and that she is going to Heaven.

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Also in both stories the main character is a woman who is smug in her convictions of superior importance. One of O'Connor's aims is the puncture the swollen self-estimates of such people. The irony between what such a person is and what the woman assumes herself to be is emphasized by such techniques as unflattering names (Turpin suggests moral turpitude.) or appearance (The grandmother insists on dressing carefully so that "in case of an accident anyone seeing her dead on the highway" would know she was a lady; ironically, after the wreck, her hat begins to disintegrate.)

Both stories contain violence, another motif often used by O'Connor to shock her characters (and the reader) into an epiphany. Mrs. Turpin is physically assaulted by Mary Grace, first by the book thrown at her and then by the girl's attempt to strangle her; the grandmother hears the gunshots that kill her family one by one prior to her brief epiphany before she, too, is murdered.

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The most obvious would be in the theme.  Flannery O' Connor frequently wrote about grace, redemption, and salvation (these two stories contain characters who have epiphanies, as well).  Both of these stories contain themes of grace, redemption, and salvation.  Mrs. Turpin receives her realization about grace and salvation through Mary Grace; whereas, the grandmother in "A Good Man..." receives her realization about grace and salvation through the Misfit.

Other similarities include setting (O'Connor can be classified as a regional writer, much like Faulkner) and similar main characters (Mrs. Turpin and the grandmother).

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