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While writing a story, there is more to the message that the author uses so as to make the story interesting. The tone, for instance, that the narrator employs while writing determines the audience as well as the reception of the story. The tone determines the amount of interest that the story will have and how interesting, sad or humorous the text’s impression on the reader is. In this paper, I will be evaluating and comparing the tone as used in both the story of ‘Gimpel, the Fool” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. Both stories were authored in the medieval era and the message behind them is that of the moral responsibility and addressed some of the matters that affected the community at the time of authoring as well as in the current time.

 Gimpel the Fool

In this story, the author applies the use of a literal, simplistic and honest tone that is complimented b the irony of the situation that Gimpel himself occasionally is in. As insinuated by the title of the story, Gimpel the fool is not only the notion that the people in his village believe he is but also what he himself believes. He is a believer who believes in what people tell him without a question and since he believes that it is the way it should be. At the beginning of the story, the author begins with ‘I am Gimpel the fool. On the Contrary. But that’s what folks call me…’ which is ironic in that on the outside, he was seen as a fool while in the inside, Gimpel was not a fool.

At the beginning of the story, the writer gives it a helpless tone where Gimpel was a victim of the people's false claims. At one point in the young age, he missed school because some children had said “Gimpel, you know the rabbi’s wife has been brought to childbed?” which he believed. He was afraid of questioning the truth that people told him because according to his religion, you were not supposed to be violent. As he grew older the people took advantage of him and convinced him to marry an unfaithful woman who was "Both a widow and divorced." At this point, the tone changed to dark as we are narrated of his ordeals through his 20 years marriage. Towards the end of the narrative, the tone changes to hopeful as he moves to the world and explores, letting no one deceive him.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

In this story, the message of good and evil of people in the society is illustrated by the character Misfit who at the beginning of the story, exists in the super fictitious mind of the grandmother. As the family is preparing to leave for a three-day trip to Florida, the grandmother intentions are to visit Tennessee and from that, she tries getting a reason to disrupt the plan.

“Here this fellow that calls himself TheMisfit is loose from the Federal Pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people. Just you read it. I wouldn't take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn't answer to my conscience if I did."

The author creates the characters who are Ludicrous and have exaggerated features and is unsympathetic to them through the outcome of the story is directly outlaid from the beginning of the story. With the caricaturing of the character in a way that makes the reader laugh as well as gets troubled by the unfolding event, the story is humorous. As of the grandmother's reaction, "There were two more pistol reports and the grandmother raised her head like a parched old turkey hen crying for water and called, "Bailey Boy, Bailey Boy!" as if her heart would break” insinuates. Additionally, O’Connor describes his son’s wife as "a young woman in slacks, whose face was as broad and innocent as a cabbage and was tied around with a green head-kerchief that had two points on the top like rabbit's ears" complementing the humorous tone used which makes the reader feel nothing for the characters even in their tragic end.

Difference in tone

The unfolding of the event in the two stories is evident in that with the story of Gimpel, the story changes from the main character being helpless. When we get to the climax of it, the tone changes to one of resentment and revenge as Gimpel wants to revenge the wrongs done to him by the people in the community. Eventually, as he moves from the village, he becomes hopeful for a better life that he is not deceived and that children look up to him. Moreover, the ending was not expected from how the story began. On the other hand, O'Connor's story is full of humor even though the end is certain. Additionally, the reader might not be sympathetic to the events unfolding to the characters even though they are moving.


O'Connor, F. (1962). A good man is hard to find. New English Library.

Singer, I. B. (1957). Gimpel the Fool: And Other Stories (Vol. 23218). Macmillan.


Tags: Tone Analysis, English Writing, English Essays, English, Writng, Creative Writing, Essay Writing, Content Writing