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Greenleaf is told in the third-person perspective but is limited to the thoughts of the character Mrs. May. The story begins with Mrs. May, an older woman with two grown sons, being woken up by the sound of a bull eating her hedges outside her bedroom window. The bull leaves by itself a few minutes later and she decides not to wake up Mr. Greenleaf her help, in the middle of the night and that she will get him to take care of the bull the next morning. The next day, she finds out that Mr. Greenleaf had known about the bull for three days but had not done anything. This upsets Mrs. May and she demands that he get rid of the bull first thing in the morning. She then goes to the dining room and talks to her two boys, one is a business man and the other is an intellectual. Generally, the mother nags the two boys and they respond not to the liking of Mrs. May. Mrs. May goes on to tell her boys of Mr. Greenleaf’s two sons, O.T. and E.T. whom she does not like even more than she does not like Mr. Greenleaf. They had both gone into the military and had come back with French wives, many commodities provided by the military, and a farm estate down the road from Mrs. May. She then learns that the bull is O.T. and E.T.’s so she decides to go down and confront the two about it. Upon her arrival, she learns that neither of the two are home, so she leaves a note telling them that the bull will be shot if they don’t pick it up. They do not show up, so she tells Mr. Greenleaf to get his gun, and the two of them go in her car out into the pasture where the bull was grazing with her herd. Mr. Greenleaf gets out of the car and prompts the bull to run into an empty pasture and Mrs. May follows him in the car. Once Mrs. May gets to the pasture, which is surrounded by woods, she sees neither Mr. Greenleaf nor the bull, so she decides to wait in the middle of the pasture for one of them to come out of the woods. Eventually, she sees a figure coming towards her, but she does not react to its approaching. Once it comes closer, she realizes that it is the bull charging towards, yet she still does not react. It then run into her and stabs her through the heart with its horns, killing her. Mr. Greenleaf then shoots the bull in the eye.



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In the short stories, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and “Greenleaf” by Flannery O’Conner, religious themes are present. The main characters in both stories are both old religious women. The grandmother and Mrs. May each consider themselves good Christian women, but throughout the stories they act in a not so Christian way. Mrs. May claims to be a Christian, but she’s constantly rude to all of the other characters in the story. Mrs. May even goes as far as to criticize the way Mrs. Greenleaf chooses to worship. The grandmother in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” attempts to talk to the Misfit through religion. In both stories the old women think they are better than others because of their religion.


The stories “Greenleaf” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” both by Flannery O’ Connor are similar and relate to each other in a variety of ways. Most blaringly, they share similar central characters. In “Greenleaf”, the thoughts of the character Mrs. May are most prominently revealed and events are generally reflected through her mind, whereas in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the grandmother serves central to the story, and events are oriented around her. Thematically, the stories share the concept of karma, or, more specially, negative consequences, in both stories in the form of death, for being judgmental of others. In “Greenleaf”, Mrs. May thinks of herself and her boys as being more educated, more intelligent, and of higher class than the Greenleaf family. In order to spite the Greenleaf’s and to prove her superiority, she ultimately causes the situation which leads to her death. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the grandmother is constantly bringing up to her family and others the idea of the dangerous world in which they now live, speaking fondly of the “good ole days”. Being so concerned of this, when she learns that a criminal is on the loose, she takes special care into knowing information about that criminal, like his appearance. This then leads to her identifying him when she and her family encounter the criminal, which leads to the murders of her and her family, as a killer could not leave witnesses behind that know who and where he is. Additionally, both stories include details that are over the top or ironic to give a sense of the ridiculousness of the characters/situations in order to satirize the way people act in society/the way they treat others. In “Greenleaf”, Mrs. May’s son sells insurance, yet she worries about someone being injured on her property because she has no insurance. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the relationship between the grandmother and her son seems to be reversed in a sense, where the grandmother has a more child-like role and is not treated as a wise elder. Finally, the setting for both is Georgia, which the characters in both call home.