Discussing Faith In “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” By Flannery O’Connor Writing Sample

Introduction

Flannery O’Connor was known as a devout Catholic, and much of her work reflects this part of her identity. “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” one of her most well-known stories, is an example, as it features religious themes throughout the encounter with the Misfit. Initially, the grandmother is one of O’Connor’s classic grotesque characters and makes a pretense to religion without embracing its spirit. However, her dialogue with the religiously nihilistic Misfit, another twisted character, as her family dies and her turn approaches, transforms her faith into one that embraces the Christian spirit of charity. In doing so, she scares the Misfit, who recognizes this pity and finds it abhorrent in his conscious rejection of Jesus, and forces him to shoot her. The story reflects O’Connor’s personal beliefs, which involve real religious awareness only arriving once death is near.

Main body

The early portion of the story does not mention religion in any context. However, one may infer that the grandmother is religious from the general old-fashionedness of her values and her focus on the past. Some of the values that she displays are superficially consistent with Christianity, as shown by her response to the gas station owner letting strangers buy fuel on credit: “Because you’re a good man!” (O’Connor 37). However, she is also a self-centered hypocrite who enjoys manipulating people, as shown by her willingness to invent a story so that the children annoy Bailey into going to see the house. Windriani describes the grandmother as “a Christian in name only” who is only interested in pleasure and social image (52). Her family recognizes this trait and does not pay her much attention or grant her respect.

The character of the grandmother is representative of O’Connor’s general opinion of the South as a place where hypocrisy was prevalent. She believed that most Southerners were superficially religious, affecting the trappings of Christianity rather than genuinely embracing the faith. As she explained in one of her essays, “it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted” (Greif 208). Red Sam chose to trust that the strangers would later return to pay for the gas they took; he was not charitable, just foolishly trusting. However, the decision helped him maintain his image of being a good man, as seen through the warped perception of the Southerners. By telling the story to passers-by, he could elicit a response such as that of the grandmother and reaffirm his supposed goodness.

The second part of the story, after the family meets the Misfit, explores the grandmother’s religion rather than the general opinions in the South. Here, she begins invoking Jesus and trying to convince the Misfit that he is a good man. However, she still focuses on the Misfit’s upbringing and her status: “I know you wouldn’t shoot a lady! […] Pray! Jesus, you ought not to shoot a lady” (O’Connor 45). However, once she hears the gunshots that take the lives of the last of her family, her perception changes. Matthiesen claims that they embrace that scares the Misfit and forces her to kill the woman is the result of her recognizing her brokenness in him and embracing true charity as she pities him (127). Immediately before her death, the grandmother understands Christianity in its spiritual sense and embraces it.

The Misfit’s closing remarks are indicative of the grandmother had become a good woman. He elaborates, in a claim that is central to this interpretation: “She would have been a good woman […] if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life” (O’Connor 46). Only when death is imminent do people understand religiosity and become ‘good,’ that is sincerely religious, people. Vala expands this narrative, claiming that the opinion that O’Connor is expressing relates to violence but also sickness, such as lupus, which ultimately took her life (228). Despite her Gothic depictions of a South that is full of twisted characters and violence, the writer believed that they could be redeemed. The awareness of one’s death was a decisive factor to O’Connor, but most could only achieve it while facing it.

Conclusion

While “A Good Man is Hard to Find” can be viewed as a grim story that centers on the Misfit, it is arguably more interested in the grandmother. In her twistedness and self-interest that is hidden under a thin pretense of Christianity, she represented the worst aspects of the South. However, through the events that led to her death, she embraced true Christianity and became a counterpoint to the irreligious and nihilistic Misfit. O’Connor shows that even a person as grotesque as the grandmother could become a ‘good person,’ which was linked to religion in the South. Moreover, through the grandmother, she may have tried to express her experience of discovering that she was sick with lupus, an incurable disease. Rather than lament her fate, O’Connor expressed the optimistic view that impending death helped one reflect on themselves and become better.

Works Cited

Greif, Mark. The Age of the Crisis of Man: Thought and Fiction in America, 1933–1973. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Matthiesen, Michon M. “Sacrifice.” The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Religion, edited by Susan M. Felch, Cambridge University Press, 2016, pp. 116-131.

O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories. Edited by Lisa Alther, The Women’s Press, 1980.

Vala, João Pedro. “A Good Man is Easy to Find: Flannery O’Connor’s Theology of Death.” Journal of Linguistics & Literature, vol. 1, no. 1, 2018, pp. 221-228.

Windriani, Dian. “Purifying the 1920s Southern American Society: The Grotesque in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”.” Indonesian Journal of English Language Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, 2018, pp. 50-54.

“The First Words”: Native Canadians’ Creation Story

Even though Canadian historians have now started a widespread revision of the roles that aboriginal people played in the history of the country. However, despite the good intentions, the practice of Canadian history is still mainly unrevised in one crucial aspect, which is that Native people are still treated research objects rather than creators of important historical knowledge. Our Story: Aboriginal Voices on Canada’s Past is an important work that attempts to correct the inequity by telling nine stories about the past, filled with myth, mystery, and history, written by the most well-known aboriginal writers. Brian Maracle’s retelling of the creation myth of the Iroquois in “The First Words” is both a strong and disturbing historic exploration and, in some cases, is a demoralizing recreation of the worldview that does not exist today.

The Creation myth is described through the interaction between a woman and her Creator. The woman finds herself on a riverbank, surrounded by beautiful nature and animals, and everything is new to her; she has never seen anything so beautiful before. She encounters a being with which she feels a sense of kinship and asks, “Who are you?” while the being responds, “I am the one that made you” (Maracle, 2004, p. 15).

The woman asks more questions about who she is and how she was created, and the being tells her a story of her surroundings and how she has come to be there. The being begins with telling the woman about the “sky world,” proceeding with describing all other aspects of living, such as meeting her mate for the first time, that have shaped the life and the culture of the Iroquois people. In contrast to the story of Creation that dominates the Western world, the Iroquois myth is more than a belief, instead, it is a shared way of thinking and looking at the outside world. Specifically, it tells the people that the onkwehóne:we did not arrive to the so-called Turtle Island by crossing some land bridge from Asia (Maracle, 2004).

One of the most remarkable points about “The First Words” is the fact that the author does not treat the Iroquois creation myth as an artifact of anthropology but rather as an act of living and historical memory. According to Maracle (2004), “and it was that time – the moment of Creation – that was the defining moment in our history” (p. 15). That moment was when the character of the Iroquois people was determined and the moment that influenced the way they think and what they believe.

From the very beginning, in his contributor’s note, the author clearly states that the Creation story is more than just a story and was a defining historical point that shaped the way the Iroquois would conduct their lives, thus influencing future generations. Approaching such a narrative as a kind of historical account, rather than a legend or fairytale, offers readers an important insight into the understanding of the Iroquois culture and belief in regard to their understanding of time, their reality, and the sense of responsibility for themselves and the future of the tribe.

Recalling both cultural and personal memories through the act of storytelling in “The First Words” adds to the process of recreating Indigenous philosophical analysis and particular approaches toward the external world. Maracle (2004) writes that in most of their schools and onkwehóne:we gatherings, someone will recite the first words in the language of the Creator, or Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen.

The author underlines the great importance for the younger generations to know how to recite the myth of Creation, and such an act honors the commands of the Creator and the story’s morale that is essential in guiding the community throughout the way of conducting their lives. By expressing the different beliefs of the Iroquois in his writing, Maracle successfully highlights specific standpoints and traditions inherent to the culture of the population. The magnitude of telling the stories is not purely informational but also a way for reproducing important knowledge of the culture, which illustrates the values and the attitudes of the particular Indigenous culture toward the external world.

The cosmological narrative represented in the Creation story is unique to the Iroquois tradition is intentionally separate from the European religious influence. Most of the events that occur in the story are those that happened to the population and helped it to determine how it should live based on what they believe. The Creation story within the cosmological context is intended to explain to the people why they call earth their mother, the moon their grandmother, the sun their elder brother, and the thunder their grandfather.

The great extent of connectivity to the nature is crucial for the Iroquois people, and their most vital and defining story teaches to place value on the spiritual strength of nature and the close-knit society. The unique perspective put forth in “The First Words” should be seen as something that gave the population a sense of purpose, which is essential for moving forward and evolving as a group.

Reference

Maracle, B. (2004). The first words. In T. King, T. Cardinal & T. Highway (Eds.), Our story: Aboriginal voices on Canada’s past (pp. 13-31). Anchor Canada.

STEM Education: Resources And Teaching Reflection

Born to teach migrant children more effectively and optimally, STEM education technology is capturing more and more educators around the world every year. The abbreviation STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and denotes a practice — oriented approach to the construction of the content of education and the educational process’s organization. The STEM approach’s primary goal is to overcome the isolation inherent in traditional education from solving practical problems and build connections between academic disciplines that are understandable to students. More and more teachers are turning to STEM technologies, so a wide range of resources allows one to customize the lesson and solve educational problems dictated by modernity.

The STEM resources are available on open online educational platforms, such as Coursera, EdX, and Udemy. One of the most recognized resources for implementing the STEM approach in preschool is LEGO Education kits (Rizqiyana, 2021). They are designed to work with children in the age range of 4 years. For each of the sets, there are methodological materials adapted to the US academic standards. They can be found on the official resources of LEGO Education and materials for the training of teachers themselves. As a resource, one can also use various sets, for example, the Set of a young chemist. Using chemical reactions, children will be able to make toys with their own hands and get acquainted with chemical reactions. Competitive quest games with experimental tasks in engineering, mathematics, humanities, natural science, and information and communication fields using multimedia are also a powerful tool for increasing engagement. The resource market for educational products within STEM education is quite diverse, and every teacher can find appropriate resources for their students.

Such formats of educational programs solve a modern teacher working in STEM-online education and correspond to the development of the necessary competencies in students. Teachers note that modern children are children of the information type of development. They quickly grasp information, but at the same time, they do not perceive this information holistically; children’s thinking is abrupt and fragmented. Trying to find a solution to this problem, many teachers choose an innovative STEM technology that helps develop preschool children’s critical thinking (Rizqiyana, 2021). The teacher of the STEM format offers to solve real problems. His approach is based on the integration of subject knowledge and technologies, joint research activities with students. STEM-teacher understands how to create a space for each child to display his abilities, realize his potential and professional tests.

STEM education is a phenomenon based on interdisciplinarity and meta-subject, the use of technological solutions in cognition and transformation of the world. Mastering modern technologies, studying physics, mathematics, biology, and other natural science disciplines in connection with each other, the student forms a unified picture of the world, creating conditions for developing content through activities. This approach’s scope and methods allow students to form a holistic view of the world and show the value of scientific knowledge for life. STEM education combines a systematic approach and practice in the future. It is only a matter of time before this system of knowledge delivery becomes the main one worldwide, and training teachers to work in this paradigm is one of the critical tasks today.

Reference

Rizqiyana, A. Z. (2021). Stem (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) approaches using thematic learning media to develop critical thinking. Dinamika Jurnal Ilmiah Pendidikan Dasar, 13(1), 20-26. Web.

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