By creating flawed, hypocritical, and sometimes mad characters, Flannery O’Connor demonstrates the religious decay of the South in her short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” While they appear to be quite different on the surface, Grandma and The Misfit are both the same at the core: sinners in need of Christ’s redemption. The Misfit is blatantly sinful and enraged at the concept of God’s grace, and Grandma masks her sinfulness with respectability and chooses to treat God as something that she can accept or ignore depending on her situation, a common practice of “good” Southern Christians of O’Connor’s time. O’Connor sends her characters on a quest where they must confront God’s redemption and make a choice to either embrace it or turn away from it. Through her characters and their journey, O’Connor creates a tale of hypocrisy, sin, and the hope of forgiveness in the Christ-Haunted South.
Harris, Abbie C. (2014) ""Jesus Thrown Everything Off Balance": Grace and Redemption in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find"," Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 3 , Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/papersandpubs/vol3/iss1/5
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“A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
Flannery O’Connor’s “ A Good Man Is Hard To Find” depicts a family’s encounter with a criminal escaped from a federal penitentiary and their essential relinquishment of life. The family that the story surrounds has planned a trip to Florida for a family vacation. Knowing but unconcerned about the criminal at large, also known as the Misfit, the family voyages onward towards their destination until the trip is abruptly stopped by a totally unnecessary exploration down an unkempt, hilly and dangerous road. The dangerous road combined with the unsuspecting attack of the driver from the grand mothers cat, Pitty Sing, lands the family in a ten-foot deep ditch and in need of help. The…show more content…
The undefined characters of the story only seem to help accelerate the action of the story.
The plot of “ A Good Man Is Hard To Find” really starts to take action when the family crashes their car and in waiting for help sees a car creeping around the bend, and here O’Connor does a good job setting the tone and image. “The car continued to come on slowly, disappeared around a bend and appeared again, moving even slower, on top of the hill they had gone over. It was a big black battered hearse-like automobile. There were three men in it.” (308) When O’Connor describes the vehicle as black and hearse-like you can tell instantly that the family is in trouble and the Misfit is about to be met. In the eyes of the narrator the family does not know their in trouble until the men exiting the car show they have guns and the grandmother identifies one of the men as the Misfit. Identifying the Misfit may have been the most crucial mistake the grandmother made the whole story, because due to her identifying the man she may have set her family up for death. The grandmother’s son, Bailey, recognizes this and after the Misfit has been recognized and the story says, “ Bailey turned his head sharply and said something to his mother that shocked even the children. The old lady began to