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Thread: Help finding related themes in these books? Anyone

  1. #1
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    Where are you going, where have you been? (Carol Oates)
    -Appearances and reality
    -Identity and search for self
    -Victim and victimization

    A good Man is Hard to Find (Flannery O'Connor)
    -Prejudice vs. tolerance
    -God and Religion
    -Violence and Cruelty


    Happy Endings (Margaret Atwood)
    -Middle class values
    -Marriage and Romance


    I'm looking for that TOPIC OR THEME to tie in all these texts

    I haven't interested anyone yet. I was thinking of maybe talking about: IDENTITY as the theme of my paper. anyone have any ideas.

    Thnank you

  2. #2
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Hi Ole,

    I haven't read any of the books you have listed unfortunately but if you post your own ideas first, more people would be likely to post a reply.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  3. #3
    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    There are themes about authenticity and inevitability in both O'Connor and Atwood's stories.

    I think I've read the Oates one many years ago, but I barely remember it.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

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    Hi OrphanPip,

    Thank you for your reply. What can I say about authenticity .. Maybe you have the same idea I have, when I say identity I'm talking about how Connie has no clear identity of her own. asumming a different persona at home than when she is with her friends.

    In Happy Endings, -- not too sure yet

    In A good Man is hard to find, The grandma at gunpoint changes and evolves into a whole new different person. She would have been a good woman if there were someone to shoot her every minute of her life. "authenticity" here I presume ?

  5. #5
    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ole32 View Post
    Hi OrphanPip,

    Thank you for your reply. What can I say about authenticity .. Maybe you have the same idea I have, when I say identity I'm talking about how Connie has no clear identity of her own. asumming a different persona at home than when she is with her friends.

    In Happy Endings, -- not too sure yet

    In A good Man is hard to find, The grandma at gunpoint changes and evolves into a whole new different person. She would have been a good woman if there were someone to shoot her every minute of her life. "authenticity" here I presume ?
    I can't speak to the Oates story too much, I really don't remember it very well, but that sounds feasible.

    In Happy Endings there is that opening narrative of the stereotypical happy marriage. Then you have those gradually increasing little stories about relationships involving suicide, infidelity, or settling for the best available partner. Each of those stories then of course ends with the same happy ending. This ultimately brings into question what our notion of a happy ending really is.

    You pretty much got what I was thinking about with the grandmother.

    The difficult one in there is the Atwood story.
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 12-05-2009 at 10:37 PM.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

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    Truly appreciated OrphanPip,

    One last question to you if you don't mind, I've largely discussed the grandmother's ignorance and her selfish actions,

    But now how can I tie that with her "identity, or authenticity". Please!

    Appreciated! thank you


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  7. #7
    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    She's not just ignorant and selfish, she's also deceitful and a hypocrite. For instance, she lied about bringing the cat along on the trip, and of course it is this cat that causes their car crash. She tells the children not to look down on the black child they pass, then tells a racist joke about watermelons. She continuously reveals herself to be manipulative and deceitful. In her last moments she tries desperately to convince the Misfit not to kill her: she tries religion and flattery.

    Some people interpret her attempt at reaching out to the Misfit not as a change in character, but merely as her last attempt at saving her life.
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 12-05-2009 at 10:38 PM.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

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    I agree, yes she is wiling to cheat death again with persuasion. She was graceful towards the misfit, only because she wanted to be saved.

    Can we say she searches for her true self, throughout the narrative she trusts her incomplete identity until that sudden change, which was made apparent in order to save herself from ruins. Does that make sense??

  9. #9
    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    Well you have two ways to look at the ending of O'Connor's story. Either the Grandmother finally realizes that her lying and manipulation won't work and she reaches out honestly for the first time in her life: "why... you're just like my son". I think the line is.

    Or, she never learns anything and at the end she's still the same manipulative hypocrite she always was.

    I don't think she's searching for some sort of authenticity. She's quite happy living the way she is. It's the encounter with the Misfit that perhaps forces her to be an "honest" person.

    Like the Misfit says, she could have been a good person if there was someone there to hold a gun to her everyday of her life.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

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