“An Act of Vengeance” by Isabel Allende and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor Comparison

Introduction

The art of fiction is used extensively in literature because it tends to bring out more aspects than literature based on real life occurrences. Real life writings such as biographies limit writers with respect to the extent to which they can adventure with talent. Literature just like all forms of art is borne out of imaginations when writers decide to escape the physical confines and its limitations, and use literature to explore life from different perspectives. Fiction allows writers to answer the “what if things were different” questions that people constantly ask themselves. Fiction can also allow writers to bring two completely contrasting aspects together by creating unique environments where contrast can exist. This paper will outline the similarities and differences with which two American writers utilized fiction in their literature, to bring out certain unique aspects that would have rather been impossible in real life. The two stories that will be analyzed are: ‘An Act of Vengeance’ by Isabelle Allende and ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ by Flannery O’Connor. ‘A good Man is hard to Find’ is a fictional story that traces the encounters of a family with death as the family sets out on a journey. ‘An Act of Vengeance’ is about feminine empowerment as it talks about feminine empowerment where a young girl is left with the responsibility of avenging her father.

Comparison

In the two stories the two authors use the act of fiction to bring out various human characters that would otherwise be difficult to outline in when literature is based on real life situations. In the story ‘ A Good Man is Hard to Find,’ the author writes of a family that sets out on a journey with all members of the family willing to make the journey except their old grandmother. The grandmother, with an apparent premonition tries to convince the family otherwise by telling them that they might run into a criminal. She says that: ‘The misfit is aloose from the federal pen and headed towards Florida.’ (O’Connor 21). The irony as is soon realized is that all the other members of the family seem to ignore her concerns. The children, John Wesley and June Star are very arrogant children who speak to their grandmother as they wish. The parents of the two children are also arrogant as they fail to reprimand the children. The grandmother’s character is depicted as being observant and careful as she is the first to enter the car, does not leave her pet cat alone and is also smartly dressed as compared to the mother of the children, who comes out as careless and carefree. ( O’Connor 33). The author also utilizes fiction to bring out the character of the misfit and even informs us a little about the misfit’s upbringing. It is only through fiction that characters of persons can be brought out whether good or bad without straining to please someone, or restrain from hurting a person’s feelings. Similarly, in the story ‘An Act of Vengeance’ the character of Dulce Rosa is brought out as she begs her father not to kill her so that she can have the chance of revenge. There is the realization that Dulce Rosa was not only beautiful but was also courageous. The fictional environment allowed the writers to bring out human characters in unlikely situations. The two writers also employ fiction to bring out emotions that would have otherwise been difficult in real life situations. The major shortcoming of real life stories is that human beings are always afraid of showing their real emotions in public and prefer to hide them underneath. However, fictional characters do not mind to speak and show their mind whether what they think and do is deemed wrong. It only depends on the courage of the creator of the characters. Fictional characters can be made to depict the society as it is and not as people want it to be. ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ shows how much society has changed and the extent to which trust has been washed down the drains. As Red Sammy outlines, the world has changed to the extent that someone cannot just leave their door unlocked due to the fear that something might be stolen. (O’Connor 37). In the story ‘An Act of Vengeance,’ a society ruled by lawlessness and lack of respect for life is depicted without fear because the author is able to use fiction rather than refer to actual people or real events. (Zapata).

Contrast

Fiction allows for diversity because authors can manipulate their imaginations and eventually depict different circumstances and bring out different emotions. In the story ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ the author is able to utilize both humor and tragedy side by side without appearing to be insensitive. For instance, after the accident the children are somewhat thrilled that they just had an accident; the mother of the children on the other hand is cold and scared, while the father is furious. In normal circumstances, the author would have been reluctant to put such emotions side by side. The whole story is also covered by a mixture of emotions and the author manages to introduce humor as she wills. For instance when referring to the water melon with the initials of the name of the former boyfriend of the grandmother. The initials were EAT and a Negro boy went ahead and ate the melon. (O’Connor 40). The story ‘An Act of Vengeance’ lacks this fluctuation of emotions as the author uses fiction to address serious societal matters. Jealousy which is a common thing in every society is brought out as other girls admit the feelings they have for Dulce Rosa. The extent of violence in this story is much more detailed and more brutal. Unlike in ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ negative emotions are outlined clearly without having to occasionally introduce humor. The author displays the seriousness of the matters being addressed in the story and it is for this reason that the she avoids too much adventure. (Zapata)

Conclusion

The similarities and differences in how the two authors make use of fiction just provide evidence of how diverse fiction can be. Without fiction literature would have been limited because authors would not have been able to outline the happenings of the society with so much courage. Literature just like all forms of art is borne out of imaginations when writers decide to escape the physical confines and its limitations and use literature to explore life from different perspectives. Fiction allows writers to answer the “what if things were different” questions that people constantly ask themselves. Fiction can also allow writers to bring two completely contrasting aspects together by creating unique environments which they can co-exist. The stories have provided evidence of this fact because the authors were able to create characters and use them as they willed to express feelings and emotions in the best way possible. The contrast of emotions also helped to create relief from tension which is not always possible to achieve. Fiction can even introduce aspects such as magic and superstition to make stories more appealing.

Works Cited

O’Connor, Flannery & Asals Frederick. A Good Man is Hard to Find. Rutgers University Press, 1977.

Zapata, Celia. Short Stories by Latin American Women. Excerpt: An Act of Vengeance. 2003. Web.