Comparing “Love in L.A.” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.”

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LITR201-1501B-04 : Literature: A Reflection of Life  

 literature is a reflection of the way individuals live and interact with each other in terms of religion, love, faith, and trust in one another and among others (Coles et al., 2010). One aspect of literature is that the short stories have seen some changes in its form as time passed on (Sacido, 2012). “Love in L.A” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” are some of the literature works that encompasses theses aspects of our lives. The following is a comparison and contrast of the two short stories to see how they bring out the different human aspects.


Both of the short stories have a setting of an accident after they were travelling in their cars. Jake meets Mariana in a freeway after crashing into her while the Grandmother and her family meet their death in a highway after an accident while they were headed to Florida. The only difference about these settings is that the result from “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is that there is death of the grandmother and her family while in “Love in L.A,” everyone gets to live.

Jake is the protagonist of “Love in L.A.” he is a self-absorbed, deceitful man who lives in a life of fantasy as evident from the story, “He needed an FM stereo in something better than this ’58 Buick he drove. It would have crushed velvet interior with electric controls for the L.A. summer…” (Gilb, 1950). Jake is full of himself and harbors opinions that are opposite those of Mariana. Mariana is an innocent and gullible character. This is evident when she opts to give Jake her personal information against her better judgment. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the reader is introduced to the grandmother who has a holier than thou attitude. She believes she knows it all, and she is better than everyone else is. Baily is the son of the grandmother. He tries to please her mother but ends up looking like a pushover but ultimately loves his family. Baily has a wife and two children. The mother of the children is an obedient wife to his husband and does not question her. The two children appear to be two typical mischievous kids who enjoy reading comic books. Red Sammy butts is a cautious business owner who had an encounter with men who stole gas from him. Just like the grandmother, Red Sammy is a man who cannot trust anyone he does not know. The Misfit is a serial killer who finds no pleasure in life. He sees no meaning in the life he lives in. The misfit has two escaped convicts, Bobby Lee and Hiram, at his command. They do what they are told by the Misfit.

“Lone in L.A” uses the freeway as a symbolic tool. The freeway represents the freedom that Jake dreams of having. He can, however, dream of this freedom while he is in his car. He just thinks about driving off into freedom after he gets the information from Mariana. The grandmothers’ hat in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” represents a lady. The grandmother wears the hat in order to appear like a lady. She is conscious of what other people will think of her. When they get into an accident, the hat comes off representing the falling of the grandmother. Just like her hat, the grandmother must also fall and she does after the misfit kills her. The Toomsboro town represents the final laying ground for the grandmother and her family after they are all killed. The name is reminiscent of the word tomb.

Bothe the books contain themes of deception but with varying effects. Gilb’s tries to point out that the honest person might not necessarily end up as the winner. This is true in that Jake, the deceitful individual, ended up as the winner from the accident. O’Connor tries to point out in the book the consequences of deception. The grandmother is deceitful and manipulative individual who ends up dead.

The tone in “Love in L.A” is that of self-realization. A reader can be able to identify the character Jake with the author of the story. He might be a morally upright individual but at one point in time, he must have been faced with the same struggles Jake is facing. O’Connor strived to give her work a tone of realism. She was out to bring out some of the true nature of individuals in the world. She maintains this surreal tone throughout her work.

The Irony in the title “Love in L.A” is that a reader of this story is expecting Jake to find love in the freeway but ends up a mischievous individual who lies to a gullible Mariana in order to get out of trouble. Love is not portrayed in the story in any way. In the story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the irony is brought about by the fact that the evil doing of the misfit brings about the goodness in the grandmother. The grandmother deemed herself as being good when she actually she was not. After she is shot, the grandmother dies with a smile indicating that she had actually done something good before she died.

Jake believed that he could get away anything by being deceitful. His car license plates were not the correct ones since they did not belong to his car. He lied to Mariana by giving her false contact information about himself. The grandmother in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” believes in being more of a lady than really acting like one. She believes in the outward appearance of an individual than what is inside. She is a hypocrite who believes she is a good person but does not really act like one. The Misfit is an individual that believes that there is only meanness in life (O’Connor, 1977). He questions the religion of Christianity and all it teaches.

Literature indeed intersects with many areas of our lives such as religion, love, what we perceive to be good, faith or even trust as depicted in the two short stories. “Love in L.A” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” are a true reflection of individuals’ lives.






Coles, R., Hall, T. H., & Kennedy, V. (2010). Handing one another along: Literature and social reflection. New York: Random House.

Gilb, D. (1950). Love in L.A.: Anthology of Short Stories.

O’Connor, F. (1977). A good man is hard to find and other stories. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Sacido, J. (2012). Modernism, postmodernism, and the short story in English. Amsterdam [etc.: Rodopi.

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