Similar Meanings When looking at two stories, ? A Good Man is Hard to Find? by Flannery O? Connor and? Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ? by Joyce Carol Oates, many similarities are seen. A possible reason for many of the similarities between the two stories is due to the fact that Oates was? inspired by O? Connor and a sophisticate reader of her fiction? (Gentry 44). O? Connor? s works were not exactly original ideas either because she uses several specific elements from C hauser? s works into her own. Both stories contain many similarities between the the victims and the actual situations that appear in the story.

Both stories begin with seemingly normal situations which look into the everyday lives of the characters. As the story? Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? starts off, Oates describes the main character of her story to the reader. Oates gives vivid detail and descriptions to portray the life of the main character named Connie. She tells the story of Connie who is a typical teenager who has many friends. Connie enjoys things such as going to the movies and going out with her friends. Connie? s life seems normal as Oates describes the usual events that take place in this story.

Then, just as everything appears to be perfectly normal, something happens and nothing is ever the same. Oates borrows this writing technique from O? Connor in which her story starts off very much the exact way. In O? Connor? s short story? A Good Man is Hard To Find? , the events start out just as Oates? short story. O? Connor begins the story by describing a typical family and? introduces the raw realities of life in rural Georgia using wit, caricature, and even cartoon-like violence… to achieve situations more complicated than ordinary description uncovers? (Prunty 38). The family decides to take a road trip to Florida, but the grandmother convinces them to go to Tennessee because she supposedly has connections there. As the family travels they stop at a small restaurant.

Then the grandmother tells a couple of stories and the children convince the dad to take a different route than they had planed. The next thing they know, tragedy strikes and the event of the story take a turn for the worse. Although both of these stories begin by portraying somewhat normal characters in common situations, the plots of the stories travel down a downward path of misfortune. Another similarity between the two stories is that they both have men who commit the brutal attacks on the victims. The men in both these stories appear to have similar characteristics which resemble one another.

Both men commit the murders on innocent people for no apparent reason. In the story by O? Connor the Misfit ironically crosses paths with the family. He gives no reason as to why he must kill this innocent family. The reader assumes that the Misfit is psychotic or just does not want the family to turn him in to the police and that could be a possible reason why he murders the family.

In Oates? story Connie first comes into indirect contact with Arnold Friend when she is at the restaurant. He shows up at her house the very next day and talks to her and tries to lure her. He tries to convince her to go for a ride with him which Connie is skeptical about the idea. He preys on an innocent teenager knowing that he can easily manipulate her into doing what he wants and eventually killing her.

The victims in both stories appear to share many common characteristics. A good example of this is similarity between Connie in Oates? story and between the grandmother in O? Connor? s story. Both the grandmother and Connie demonstrate vain characteristics throughout the stories. As the family travels, in O? Connor? s story, the grandmother is so concerned with how she appears that she concludes, ? if I were a found dead on the road, anyone would know I was a lady? (Prunty 47). Also, when the family is traveling in the car, the grandmother begins to tell her stories. She tells the children a story about Mr.

Teagarden and says that she? married the wrong man because Teagarden became wealthy, ? which shows that she is highly materialistic and selfish (Blythe and Sweet 50). Connie, in Oates? story, has the characteristics of the grandmother and shows them well throughout the beginning of the story. As the story begins the author describes Connie as a beautiful girl. Connie knows that she is pretty and she is scolder by her mother for constantly looking at herself in the mirror. She is so concerned with her outside appearance that she looks into other people? s glasses to make sure that she looks perfect. Connie has two ways about her: one for at home and the other when she goes out with her friends.

She has a sweater that she wears in a revealing way when she goes out, but she just wears it normally when she is at home. Another common characteristic between the characters of the grandmother and Connie is their interest in only themselves. Both Connie and the grandmother were concerned for no one else and were not interested in anyone else? s feelings. For example, the grandmother in O? Connor? s story is intent on getting her way through any methods possible. When the Bailey and the rest of the family decides to go to Florida, the grandmother silently opposes this idea. She wants to go to Tennessee because she supposedly has connections there.

In order for her to get what she wants, she tells the family that the Misfit escaped and is somewhere near Florida. By intentionally deceiving the family to get her own way, it is apparent that the grandmother has no concern for her family? s safety. Examples from? Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ? are seen through Connie? s extreme self-centered ness. Connie has the attitude that she is better than her sister June just because she looks better. Connie says that her mom does not say good things about her like she does with June, but she believes that her mom likes her more than her sister because she is prettier than her.

Later in the story, Connie goes out with a couple of friends to a nearby restaurant. Connie meets a guy and he asks her to leave with him to go to another place. Connie tells her friend that she is not staying and leaves with the guy. Then a few minutes later Connie tells the guy that she feels bad for leaving her friend alone like she did.

Obviously, Connie does not care about the safety of her friend or she would not have left her friend in the restaurant alone. The situations that lead to both the grandmother and Connie? s death are not only somewhat similar, but ironic as well. As the grandmother talks with the Misfit, she realizes that he is going to kill her just as he killed the rest of her family. The grandmother thinks that she can possibly talk her way out being killed so she tries to command the Misfit to pray. Although she tries to tell the Misfit to keep on praying, she really does not have faith in praying herself. In an attempt to make a familial connection with the Misfit, the grandmother tells the Misfit? Why you are one of my babies.

You? re one of my own children! ? (O? Connor 3). Everything the grandmother is saying is hypocritical because she does not mean what she is saying and her words do not contain love. The Misfit realizes that the grandmothers words are not sincere and she tries to manipulate him so he shoots her. In Oates? story, Connie? s vain and manipulative ways lead to her downfall. Throughout the story, Connie is seen as a person who gets what she wants only through manipulation and deception. Connie? s manipulating ways finally catch up to her in the end of the story because she actually ends up being manipulated by Arnold Friend.

He tries to convince Connie to come with him but Connie tries to think of all kinds of excuses to keep herself from getting into any situation with Arnold. The commonality between these two victims is that they both tried to reason their way out of a risky position and that although they did something that led them into a dangerous situation, neither one of them deserved to die. Also, in both stories, the characters deaths probably would have been prevented if they had not been wandering into places were they should not have been. In these stories, Oates? responds to O? Connor? s fascination with our secret desires for trespass and with the mysterious connections between danger and salvation? (Gentry 45). When looking at the story by O? Connor, the grandmother starts telling her stories of how she knows where a house in Tennessee is located.

She tells the children how she knows about a secret passage in the house that contains all kinds of treasures. This prompts the children to persuade the father to travel down a deserted road just to find something the grandmother claims is valuable. If it had not been for the grandmother getting the children to persuade Bailey to make the wrong turn, the family might not have run into the Misfit. Also, Connie comes in contact with Arnold Friend when she goes somewhere she is not supposed to be. Connie and her friends tell their parents that they are going to the shopping mall when, in fact, they go anywhere else but to the mall. Connie? s first encounter with Arnold occurs when her and her friends decide to go to a restaurant right behind the shopping mall.

To Connie, this was somewhere she knew she should not have been, but she felt good about doing something daring and going where all of the older kids go. The characters in these stories are driven to wander into places where they should not be. Because of these character? s curiosity to travel into potentially dangerous places, they ended up crossing paths with death. The stories written by O? Connor and Oates have various ways in which they relate to each other. Oates borrows the writing style of O? Connor to produce an exceptional short story that inspires its readers. Both O? Connor and Oates take characters and describe the events of their everyday lives.

Both authors write the stories so that they will begin like any other story, depicting a typical day in the life of a normal character. Then just as everything seems ordinary, the unexpected happens. Both of these writers make good use of showing the reader how, although everything seems normal, the situation can turn tragic for a possibility of reasons. The characters in both of these stories had some negative qualities that may have contributed to their fate. The similarities in both stories enhance the overall quality of the story and retains the reader? s interest. Bibliography Blythe, Hal and Charlie Sweet.

The Explicator. ? O? Connor? s A Good Man Is Hard to Find? . Held ref Publications: Washington, D. C. 1996. Vol.

55: 1. 49-51. Gentry, Bruce Marshall. The Flannery O? Connor Bulletin. ? O? Connor? s Legacy in Stories by Joyce Carol Oates and Paula Sharp? . Georgia College: Milledgeville, Georgia.

1995. vol. 23. 44-60. Oates, Joyce Carol. Literary Culture: Reading and writing Literary Arguments.

? Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ? . Pearson Custom Publishing: Needham Heights, MA. 2000. 282-293. Prunty, Wyatt. Shenandoah.

? The Figure Of Vacancy? . Shenandoah: Lexington, Virginia. 1996. vol. 46: 1. 38-56.

Dopey, William S. Studies In Short Fiction. "A Dissenting Opinion of Flannery O'Connor's ‘ A Good Man Is Hard to Find,' ." Vol, 10. 1973. 199-204.