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Donlon 1 Erin Donlon Comp 101 Prof. Dzielawa 1 April 2014 Right and Wrong in A Good Man i !

ard to "ind A ma#or $omponent of thi tor% i the definition of a &good man'( and the differen$e

)etween right and wrong. *he grandmother in the tor% i a elf+de $ri)ed &lad%'( who eem to ha,e a pro)lem with not getting her wa% and ad#- ting to the $hara$teri ti$ of the time he now li,e in. *he Mi fit' on the other hand' i an e $aped $on,i$t who m-rder the grandmother. entire famil%. What reall% ma/e a good man or lad%0 1 it their a)ilit% to feel remor e for their a$tion ' or i it their a)ilit% to admit that the% /now that the% did wrong0 A large portion of the grandmother. opinion of what ma/e omeone a good per on i

her #-dgment on whether or not a per on wa a &lad%( or a &good man.( What does being a lady mean for the grandmother? It is in part a matter of appearances, of looking "respectable," and it's also a matter of manners. She complains to her grandchildren that: "In my time," said the grandmother, folding her thin veined fingers, "children were more respectf l of their native states and their parents and everything else. !eople did right then." "eing a lady, for the grandmother, is also tied to the way things were when she was growing p and the vision of the former ladies of the #ld So th. $hat means one more re% irement to being a lady is it has to do with blood, and what kind of family into which yo 're born. In her own mind, the grandmother is certainly a "good person," as are all people of her social class, as she is a member of a former prevalent so thern family. We learn in passing that the grandmother's family had a plantation, and d ring the car ride she points o t the remains of the ho se and its graveyard. #ne of the most prevalent moments of the grandmother&s '#ld So th( ideals coming thro gh d ring her enco nter with $he )isfit, a sit ation in which her notions are totally o t of place. "*isten," the grandmother

Donlon 2 almost screamed, "I know yo 're a good man. +o don't look a bit like yo have common blood. I know yo m st come from nice people," she yelled at the )isfit. #ne ma-or aspect of being a 'good person( to the grandmother wo ld have to be religion. .rowing p and contin ing to live as a member of the #ld So th, the grandmother more than likely considers a strong /hristian faith is a defining point of being a 'lady.( 0ccording to her philosophies, a respectable lady sho ld believe in a mercif l .od and she event ally tries to instill this tho ght in the )isfit. 1er faith doesn't seem to r n very deep, tho gh. While talking to the )isfit and witnessing her family being m rdered one by one she doesn&t really show that strong of a resolve in her faith. $hat may be why, when she cries "2es s, 2es s," it so nded, "as if she might be c rsing.( She probably can't nderstand how .od co ld let something horrible like this happen to her, a good woman. $hat doesn&t stop her from trying to se religion to sway the )isfit from killing her. 1er faith may not have been very strong, b t she probably did believe that "if yo wo ld pray, 2es s wo ld help yo ,( as she tells $he )isfit. In the end, her /hristian piety did not win o t, and she is nable to pray when she finds herself in a crisis and even begins to % estion the power and divinity of 2es s. $he )isfit, on the other hand, has a different opinion on religion than the grandmother, and he retains a gen ine bewilderment abo t religion. Whereas the grandmother accepts faith n% estioningly, albeit weakly, the )isfit challenges religio s beliefs and considers serio sly abo t whether he sho ld follow them or not. 1e generally has so far chosen to live nder the notion that religion is pointless and adheres to his own kind of religion: '3o pleas re b t meanness.( $he )isfit generally thinks that religion comes down to an all4or4nothing % estion abo t 2es s. 1e thinks that if 2es s was really the Son of .od then life has a very serio s point. $he point wo ld be to follow 2es s and his teachings beca se in that case, it wo ld be clear what yo sho ld do. #n the other hand, if 2es s wasn't the Son of .od,

Donlon 2 then life is meaningless, and there is no real right and wrong. $he )isfit doesn't act ally believe in 2es s, so for him life doesn't have a point and his evil actions have no real conse% ence. $he idea that by following 2es s one gains a chance at salvation and eternal life seems to be important to $he )isfit. It may be why he speaks of "the few min tes yo got left." Witho t the promise of eternal life, life is conse% ently short, meaningless, and ends in death, which is part of its f tility. 0 ma-or component of this story is being a good person. $he story challenges the reader to se their ded ctive reasoning to decide who really is the man in the story. $he most obvio s character that the reader wo ld decide is the antithesis of a 'good man( is the )isfit. While #&/onnor doesn&t originally say what he did to become incarcerated b t the grandmother hints that it is % ite bad. She reads abo t him in the newspaper and tells "ailey how she doesn&t want to go to 5lorida beca se of him, 'here this fellow that calls himself $he )isfit is aloose from the 5ederal !en and headed toward 5lorida and yo read here what it says he did to these people. 2 st yo read it. I wo ldn't take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I co ldn't answer to my conscience if I did." 1owever, the )isfit obeys to a moral code that remains consistent and strong. 5rom his prior and c rrent e6periences as a criminal, he believes that the p nishment is always disproportionate to the crime. 1e also believes that the crime, in the end, doesn&t even really matter. $hro gho t his conversation with the grandmother he insists pon his innocence and claims that his father was dead from infl en7a before he was acc sed of killing him. 0t the end of the story it is hard to believe that $he )isfit is act ally innocent, regardless of whether he killed his father or not. 1e has his crew members kill the grandmother's family in s ch a nonchalant manner that it seems as if he's sed to committing m rder. $oward the end of the story, it becomes easier to believe that he's done a lot of nasty things. $he )isfit is

Donlon 4 also a good characteri7ation of a moral nihilist. 1e admits that he's done things that are obvio sly wrong by other people's principles, b t they don't feel wrong to him. /onse% ently, he feels bitter abo t being p nished for his actions. 5or him, they actions are - st pleas rable. $he grandmother, however, claims to be a good person, b t from the very beginning the reader gets a sense that that may not be completely tr e. #n the other hand, the grandmother is an e6treme manip lator. Whenever something goes against the grandmother's will, she tries to have it her way. She never does this directly or bl ntly, tho gh. 1er style is always a bit s btler. In the very first paragraph she starts trying to manip late her son into not going to 5lorida like they planned, b t to go to $ennessee like she wanted to. She does this not by telling him straight o t that she did not want to go to 5lorida, b t by trying to scare him with reports of a criminal on the loose and g ilt trip him abo t taking his children there. When that doesn&t work, she contin es to try to manip late "ailey, her son. 1er ne6t ro te is to say that the children have already been to 5lorida. It's not abo t her, she implies, it's abo t the children. 5or some reason, tho gh, the reader does not % ite believe her. $he rest of the story shows the grandmother doing more of the same manip lative behavior. We learn that "ailey doesn't want her to bring her cat, b t she did not like the idea of leaving it alone for three days. Instead of ca sing a r ck s by having a confrontation with "ailey abo t it, the grandmother - st hides the cat in a basket and secretly brings it along. $hen on the road the grandmother decides she wanted to go see an old plantation that she remembered from her yo th, b t she knows "ailey won't want this. So she manip lated the children into convincing "ailey for her by telling them a lie abo t a secret compartment in one of the walls of the plantation. $he reco rse from all of her manip lations and lies event ally gets the family into a car accident after the cat - mped o t of it&s cage and the car flips over on the road to what the grandmother tho ght was the plantation, b t she remembered last min te

Donlon 3 that the plantation was in a completely different state. $his car crash leads them to be discovered by the )isfit. 1er constant manip lation shows - st how selfish and self4serving of a character she is. She's partic larly selfish in that she did not even beg for anyone else's life. $he first words o t of her mo th after she recogni7ed who the )isfit was are, "+o wo ldn't shoot a lady, wo ld yo ?" She keeps p this ro tine even as the rest of her family is taken to the woods and killed. 5rom this "master manip lator" view, the grandmother is insincere and nconcerned with the rest of her family as long as she can find a way to spare her own life.

I don&t have either the intro or concl sion paragraphs done yet.