Ideal Man Essay: Rewrite Alicia Luttrell AP English October 11, 2012 From ancient times to present day, authors from around the world have tried to pursue the ideal man. After reading some of their stories, it is easy to see that each story depends on the type of culture the author was raised in. Throughout this pursuit, the ideal man has taken on many different forms. The ideal man may be thought of as someone who is perfect, but some may see him as someone who overcomes faults or doubts. He could also be seen as someone tries to become the ideal man or is well-known and liked throughout the land.
In Flight, the young man Pepe has to learn to become a man after his father dies. His mother tells him almost daily that he is lazy and needs to get to work. As Pepe’s mother starts to rely more on him, she sends him into town to pick up some medicine and supplies. This is the start of Pepe forming into a man. His mother is instilling responsibility in him to help out the family. He goes on a journey and ends up proving that his mother should have never sent him because he kills someone. He runs from his crime and tries to get away from facing the consequences.
Although he wanted to be like his father, the ideal man in Pepe’s eyes, he was young and foolish. The doubt of his mother didn’t help though. John Steinbeck wrote this story to show the reader that just because there is a void to fill does not mean that the person filling that void is ready for the task. Pepe tried to be like his father and fill his shoes. Some readers might view trying as a characteristic of an ideal man. Although Pepe tried he still lacked strength and courage to face his mistakes.
The strange story of The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World is an example of creating an ideal man. The town’s people created a life that they thought this handsome man, they found on the beach, should have lived. Instead of just burying and being done with him, they chose to give him a life story so that he would not be forgotten. They gave him the name of Esteban, which means great and beautiful. The women compared him to their husbands, even though they knew nothing of him. The town’s people went out of their way to give him a lavish funeral, one that everyone would remember.
These people were using Esteban for their own self-improvement. They saw how this man was forgotten and did not want the same thing to happen to them. This thinking caused them to change their life styles and better themselves. In the short story, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, there are many characteristics that could be put together to make up one ideal man, but separately everyone has flaws. The main character of the story, the grandmother, is in search of a good man. She is always quick to say someone is a “good man” before she knows anything about them.
For example, when she meets Red Sam he mentions to the family that he let some “fellers” charge their gas last week; she instantly decides that he is a good man. Red Sam was caring, generous, and thoughtful, things that an ideal man should be. On the other hand, Red Sam was lazy and rude towards his wife, not a characteristic of an ideal man. When the grandmother meets the Misfit, even though she knows he is a criminal, she still calls him a “good man. ” He is kind to her, but in the end he kills her because she knows too much.
Flannery O’Conner wrote this short story to let the reader know that just because someone may seem like “good man”, it does not always mean that they are. Red Sam seemed kind and caring, but he was really just lazy and rude. The Misfit turned out to be a cold-hearted killer after seeming like he cared to stop and help the family on the side of the road. There are people that are in the world today who seem good, but are nowhere close to it. They can say whatever they want but their actions will speak for themselves. As all of these stories show, being an ideal man is near impossible.
Many people possess qualities that would make up an ideal man, but never all the qualities needed. They can never possess all the qualities because every perspective of an ideal man is based on what the reader believes in. Pepe was not mature enough, Esteban was not remembered for what he actually did, and Red Sam and the Misfit appeared like good men, but were not even close. There will never be an ideal man living in society. The ideal man will only live on through the stories, movies, and imagination people create. The ideal man is all based around culture and belief.
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