Sunday, October 19, 2014


In the Bible, Jesus calls to the disciples they put away their jobs and material things to follow him:  "And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.…" (Mark:1:17-18)  
They cannot have these things if they want to fully devote themselves to Christ.  The grandmother must put away her affectations and air of Christianity before she can truly accept grace.  Throughout the beginning of the story, we see the Grandmother's less than Christian approach to her fellow man; she criticizes people at just about every turn, "People certainly aren't nice like they used to be" (2778), she lies to get her way (2779), and she's entirely concerned with appearances. She sees beauty in things she knows nothing about, like the poor boy on the steps of a shack and the graveyard plantation (2777).  There is nothing romantic about these places she wants to paint and sighs lovingly over, she simply cannot see them as people such as herself.  Tossing blame around at everyone but those she likes, "The old lady said that in her opinion Europe was entirely to blame for the way things were now." (2779)  
Before becoming a disciple, Matthew was a tax collector (Matthew 9:9) something that was, and still is, considered one of the most hated of professions.  When others confronted Jesus as to why he would bring someone like that into his fold he said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."  The Grandmother is not a perfect Christian, just as the Misfit says at the very end, "She would of been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."(2786) She has to become good, become a disciple before she dies at peace.  
The reader first sees this change in her with regards to her appearance, at the beginning of the story, O'Conner clearly makes a point to make sure we get a full picture of what kind of a woman the grandmother is "...but the grandmother had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim...In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady." (2776)  She is vain and preoccupied, worried about keeping up her image and dolling out criticism.  However, when she if faced with The Misfit - when first confronted with the very real possibility of her death, she withdraws this pretense, "The grandmother reached up to adjust her hat brim as if she were going to the woods with him but it came off in her hand. She stood staring at it and after a second she let it fall on the ground." (2783)  Suddenly, the idea of dying "a lady" doesn't matter anymore, because it's not important.  For a woman her age, at this time to cast aside the hat at all was just not done.  To drop the ornamentation, the status and civility it represents, is to "leave her net", to leave what tells others who she is and makes her, her.  She is now free to "follow" God; to become his messenger.  At no point in the story does she actually pray.  It is only when she has her moment of revelation towards the Misfit that the reader sees her understand God.  When she realizes her death is drawing near, just before her exclamation, "She sank down in the ditch with her legs twisted under her" (2786) She falls down to her knees, almost in prayer.  “Humbled” is something we read about a lot in the Bible in the presence of Jesus and God, and she experiences this effect with The Misfit himself.  During most of their talk, as his associates are taking her family into the woods, he is kneeling below her and she literally "...was standing up looking down on him" (2784) and then he is standing above her when she first falls to her knees.  Just before her moment of grace however, "She saw the man's face twisted close to her own..." (2786) This is the first time she is "equal" to The Misfit; this is the stance they are in when she is killed, at equal height.  
In the same verse from Matthew describing tax collectors, Jesus says, “‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:11) The Misfit is there to bring this sinner towards Christ.  Even if he doesn’t mean to, even if he doesn’t realize his purpose, he seems to be sent to deliver her salvation. Like Pontius Pilate washing his hands after whipping Jesus Christ, The Misfit wipes her away, “Then he put his gun down on the ground and took off his glasses and began to clean them."(2786)  The Bible verse goes, “When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves." (Matthew 27:24).  By washing them away, the two men attempt to cleanse themselves of their demise.  

I'm not very good at rough draft's so I want to be sure I'm heading in the right direction, also I want to use the quote about the Grandmother smiling when she dies but I don't quite know how to fit it in. 


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  2. 1.) The first paragraph does not tell the author or the name of the story. It didn't necessarily engage or bore me, it was just very brief and a little ambiguous.

    2.) I thought the thesis was: "The grandmother must put away her affectations and air of Christianity before she can truly accept grace."
    From this, I feel the point that is trying to be made is that the grandmother must stop feigning her beliefs, and be true to herself, before she can be saved. I feel this is based on the religious overtones in the story.

    3.) I think the writer does a good job of making her point, I didn't notice any summarizing over analyzing. I feel they had a good amount of textual support.

    4.) I would just add a text example to the last paragraph, to tie it all together. I felt the text support in this was good, there were many quotes used, and I felt they were described thoroughly.

    5.) For the most part, I found myself agreeing with the writer's claims.

  3. Eleanor,
    Definitely going in the right direction! Good start and interesting analysis!
    Just make sure you introduce the text you are analyzing and be sure to analyze the specific language of all the quotes you choose.

  4. I like your biblical illusions, the introductions doesn't necessarily draw me in since it's really short and just kind of starts. I think you might need to ease into your topic more. That can of course be done by introducing the author, and the title of the work but maybe find a way to talk about the use of biblical analogies and why it's important to this work, why it's prevalent and how it effects the story as a whole and to the reader. Just a thought. I believe your thesis was actually in your second paragraph, but you could probably just combine the first and second paragraph and you'd be fine on that. But I think it's your sentence about the grandmother putting away her affections and air of Christianity, I can't copy paste on my tablet for some reason, but this is a moderately strong thesis. It give me some what of an idea where you are going and doesn't really say much as far as what the author was trying to say through the grandmother's character. So maybe you can explore that to go deeper. Again tying author's background and motive into your writing can strengthen your argument. I like your bible quotes but I don't think you should use so many (just opinion) it seems to almost water down your thoughts and just feels like you're, well, quoting bible verses. Reading this I just want to hear more about you, what you thought, how you were effected about this story and it just feels like a lot of outside sources. Which I don't know if it's going to be considered that but I know for this essay we actually were told NOT to use outside sources so I'd be careful on that. It looks like Prof. Swindle already commented on this so you should be fine but I'd be careful, maybe just frame your paper with quotes. The one at the beginning and the one at the end, and then you can make the rest all your own with lose references or something. I don't disagree with anything you're saying but just the structure, sometimes starting an essay with a quote can be trite. It's really hard to draw people in with a quote, especially one from the bible which can feel boring and preachy. But other than that I think you're off to a good start. Just a little tweaking here and there and you should be great.

    1. Kayla you're definitely right about too many quotes, I think I wanted to pack all my options into my draft so that I could file them down for the final paper. ;)