The Importance of Family Relationships in the Writings of William Fualkner, Flannery O'Connor and Andre Dubus

Topics: Family

Family Relationships in Fiction Family relationships played an integral part in the writings of Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, and Andre Dubus. Each author showed the importance of tamily in situations that the characters encountered. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” OConnor showed how a fairly average family dealt with a difficult situation. In Faulkner’s short story, “Ban Burning.” a family struggled to decide which was more important: family loyalty or doing the right thing. In the Bedroom, a film directed by Todd Field and based on “Killings” by Dubus, demonstrated how a family was affected by horrible tragedy and how the family handled the situation themselves.

All three stories illustrated the value of family Support during tragedy, whether the family was inflicting the pain or experiencing it. Flannery o’Connor introduced the family in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” as a typical, somewhat dysfunctional family preparing for a vacation. Although the family was aware that the Mistfit was neading Tor Florida, the kids insisted that they go there.

when the tamilyS car tips, they assumed that the car driving slowy down the hill had come to help. They soon realized it was the Misfit, and that if the grandmotner nad not mentuoned that she recognized them, the outcome or that day would nave probably been different. The family was s0on put in a predicament. The Misit and his gang took the tamily members, beginning with the father and son, out into the woods to Kill them.

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The remaining family stayed amazingly calm and the mother with the baby and the little girl agreed to go into the WOods with Bobby Lee and Hiram. It was odd how the people agreed so easily to walk to their deaths. Maybe the father and son did not know what as going to happen to them, but the mother obviously heard the gunshots and did not protest when the Misfit offered, “..would you and that little girl ike to step off yonder with Bobby Lee and Hiram and join your husband?” The mother responded with, “Yes thank you(Dubus 336; all page references are to the class text, The Compact Bedtord Introduction to Literature). She had the choice to fight to try to save herself or her children, but instead she went Submissively.

It seemed that even the father should have realized what was going to happen once they got in the woods, and he could have tried to save his son. The grandmother stood rather calmly, with the exception of calling out Bailey’s name, as all of her family was taken into the woods and shot. She seemed distraught at first, but seemed to calm down. She must have known that the Misfit was going to kill her, too, because she began pleading with him, calling him one of her children and telling him about Jesus. The family obviously cared for each other, even if they did not always show it. Colonel Sartoris Snopes, or Sarty, faced a dilemma in “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner. Sarty’s Tather, a sharecropper, burned the barns of his employers it he Telt that he had been wronged in any way.

As soon as he would set the blazes, the family fled to another tovwn to set up a new life. Sarty knew that what his father did was wrong, but he als0 believed he should be loyal to his family. In this case, Sarty’s family was causing the tragedy. After the last fire was set, Sarty’s tather ordered his mother to hold him so that he could not go up to Major de Spain’s house to tell him about the fire. His aunt seemed to feel the same way Sarty did, and she told his mother, “it he don’t go, before God, am going up there myself”(Faulkner 382). Sarty struggled free of his mother’s grasp and ran to tell Major de Spain about the fire. Sarty faced a tough decision about the value of kinship. He could either cover for his father again, or he could attempt to make the fires stop by turning him in.

Although he hated going against his family, Sarty chose to make the morally correct decision, possibly to clear his conscience. He understood the importance of loyalty, but he krnew that his Tather was wrong. In the Bedroom portrayed a family affected by the murder of a son. When Richard killed Frank, the ives of Matt, Ruth, Natalie and her sons, and even Richard are affected. Matt and Ruth lost their only child. Natalie’s estranged husband killed her boyfriend while she and her sons were in the house. Richard was arrested for the murder, only to be released later on bail. Richard’s actions caused pain for Matt and Ruth, especially after he posted bail. Ruth would see him around town, free after committing murder. The Fowlers’ lawyer told them that Richard would probably only get twenty years in prison if he was convicted. Matt decided the only way that justice would be served would be to take matters into his own hands. Matt and willis plotted to take care ot Richard and planned for him to jump bail.”

Untortunately for Richard, the real plan was to kill him. Matt shot him too sOon, saying he could not wait any longer. When he returned home the next morning, Ruth asked Matt if they had carried out their plan. Matt thought that punishing Richard would make him feel better, but he realized that it did not. Because Richard tore apart a family by killing Frank, Matt felt that the only way to take away the pain was to punish Richard in the same way. All three authors provide the readers with thought provoking stories. Readers are encouraged to evaluate how the families dealt with the tragedies they encountered.

Each tamily had to make tough decisions and had to endure great pain, but all three stories showed that tamily Is an important part of Iiterature. The grandmother in “A GOOd Man is Hard to Find” dealt with the brutal murders of her tamily, and later taced death herselt. In “Barn Burning. Sarty had to choose between righteousness and loyalty to his family. Matt chose to try to end the pain brought on by Frank’s murder himself. Although each family had to endure great tragedy, each dealt with it differenty while appreciating the value of family relationships.

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The Importance of Family Relationships in the Writings of William Fualkner, Flannery O'Connor and Andre Dubus. (2023, Feb 26). Retrieved from

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