By going to a Jesuit University, we as students strive to see the best not only in other individuals, but in nature and in life itself. In Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “God’s Grandeur,” and Jane Hirshfield’s “Happiness” these works strive to illustrate the magnificence of life and all creatures. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the grandmother, even though she knows the Misfit is going to kill her family, tries to reason with him and convince him he is deep down a good person. “God’s Grandeur” demonstrates the greatness one can obtain by simply believing in the Lord. Also, “Happiness” exemplifies the pleasure we as humans can gain if we see the positive side of nature.
In Flannery O’Connor’s short story, the Grandmother, after leading her family onto a deserted road in search of a house she remembers from her childhood, hopes that the Misfit will not kill her family. She tells him “I know you’re a good man at heart. I can look at you and tell” (1005). Instead of expecting him to ruthlessly kill the family, she has hope that in the core of his being he is inherently good. Although in end of the story the entire family ultimately is slain, by thinking about the best in people she prolongs being killed by a sociopath. This was the opposite for her son, who is killed first by the Misfit because he is unable to try to see any positive attributes in the killer.
Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “God’s Grandeur” illustrates the magnificence of the Lord in all objects, including nature. It is seen when the speaker states “It will flame out, like shining from shook foil/ It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil” (2-3). This phrase illustrates that even objects that are not considered beautiful, such as the oil, have a higher purpose and have beauty in functionality. This poem demonstrates further that having Faith allows individuals to be more connected to the world and their surroundings. These viewpoints are also demonstrated in Jane’ Hirshfiled’s “Happiness.” This poem illustrates that all creatures can be seen as magnificent if we as humans take the time to appreciate nature for its worth.
These themes in the works we had to read this week are very applicable to my volunteer work. Last week I started volunteering at Guilford Middle Elementary School, tutoring members of the academic quiz team. Even though I was there for several hours, after leaving I felt like I had accomplished so much. A requirement for a class turned into a love for volunteering that I know I am going to enjoy attending every week. After reading these works, I felt that optimism was a central theme in all three--- with hope the world seems to become a better place.