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For this paper, you are to write a literary comparison and contrast paper on the two O'Connor stories we have read. To be effective, a comparison-contrast essay needs to be focused on particular methods, characters, and themes.  In addition to using quotes from the stories to support your points, you must also use at least one quote from any of the excerpts by her or her critics found on pages 579-590 in  Norton.

Choose any of the following topics for your paper:

  1. Although "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People" rely on similar settings, diction, and characterization, these stories by Flannery O’Connor rely on two notably different types of plot sequence (the first told in chronological order, the second with a long exposition, followed by scenes retold from different points of view). Compare and contrast the climax and resolutions in the two stories, with particular attention to point of view.
  2. Discuss how details of character, language, setting, and symbolism in the stories "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People” serve to characterize the grandmother and the mother (Mrs. Hopewell), noting points of similarity and difference between the two women. Consider each woman's relationship with the leading male character(s), and explain why you think each character is primarily active or passive (or both), supportive or destructive (or both), perceptive or self-deceived (or both). Such qualities are not mutually exclusive, of course, and may overlap. Be careful not to reduce these characters to simple-minded stereotypes; explore their complex natures.
  3. Although the same fundamental observations about human weaknesses and fears underlies both "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People" these two stories by Flannery O’Connor offer some notably different conflicts. Compare and contrast the two stories, with particular attention to the ways O’Connor dramatizes different themes in each. Be sure to include some discussion of the importance of setting, point of view, and character in each story.
  4. A foil is a character whose main function is to illuminate the qualities of another character (often the protagonist) through comparison and contrast. First, identify at least one foil character in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People". Next, explain why and how each of these characters may be viewed as a foil, and (most importantly) discuss how the foil character serves to illuminate certain qualities of another character.
  5. In "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People” discuss how setting and symbolism contribute to our understanding of the conflicts experienced by the character of the Misfit and Hulga, respectively. Unify your essay by identifying points of similarity and difference in these two characters.
  6. Both "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People” are concerned with the concepts of faith and salvation. Discuss how each story treats these ideas, paying attention to the importance of setting, point of view, and character in each story.
  • To be successful, you should incorporate the  topic into your  thesis statement. For example:  Although "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and "Good Country People" rely on similar settings, diction, and characterization, these stories by Flannery O’Connor rely on two notably different types of plot sequence (the first told in chronological order, the second with a long exposition, followed by scenes retold from different points of view). The result is _____________________________________(something here that indicates your conclusion with regards to how the sequence effects the climax and resolution).
  • Your paper must be correctly formatted in MLA style and include a Works Cited page. Please note that your Works Cited page must follow the format for citing works in an anthology. Here is a  link to the OWL at Purdue that explains how to do it correctly.
  • Your paper must be  at least 750 words, not including the Works Cited page, and must be submitted to Turnitin no later than  11:59 PM on Sunday, November 1st. The Turnitin link can be found by clicking on the Turn-it-in Assignments button on our Course Menu. 

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