The main protagonist, named only as the Grandmother is afraid to go to Florida, fearing that she may encounter a criminal called The Misfit who she has read about in the newspaper. This is not the only time in the story in whereby the reader senses that the Grandmother views herself as superior to others. There are further examples which suggest she believes herself to be superior to others.
Since she was limited by her illness to short and infrequent trips away from the farm, O'Connor learned to draw upon the resources at hand for the subject matter of her stories. These resources included the people around her, her reading material, which consisted of various books and periodicals which came to Andalusia, and an assortment of local and regional newspapers.
Several critics have pointed out the influence of regional and local newspaper stories on O'Connor's fiction. The Misfit, the pathological killer who murders an entire family in this story, was apparently fabricated from newspaper accounts of two criminals who had terrorized the Atlanta area in the early s; Red Sammy Butts, according to another critic, may have been based on a local "good ole boy" who had made good and returned to Milledgeville each year, on the occasion of his birthday, to attend a banquet in his honor, hosted by the local merchants.
O'Connor's treatment of the characters in this story reinforces her view of man as a fallen creature. Briefly, the story depicts the destruction of an altogether too normal family by three escaped convicts.
The thematic climax of the story involves an offer of grace and the grandmother's acceptance of that gift as a result of the epiphany she experiences just before her death.
The events which lead to that climax, however, generate much of the interest of the story. The reader's first view of the family is one designed to illustrate the disrespect and dissension which characterize the family's relationships with one another.
The grandmother's vanity and self-centered attitude are made apparent in the first three lines of the story. Rather than acquiesce to the family's plan for a trip to Florida, she wishes to visit some of her "connections" in east Tennessee.
In the next line, one learns that Bailey is her only son, a bit of information which prevents a possible misreading of the grandmother's last earthly words, "You're one of my children," and thereby prevents the reader from missing the action of grace at the end of the story.
In her attempt to get the family to go to Tennessee rather than to Florida, the grandmother uses the news story of the escaped murderer, the Misfit, to try to scare Bailey into changing his mind.
Although Bailey does not answer her thereby showing a complete lack of respect for herthe incident provides an ironic foreshadowing to the end of the story. When Bailey fails to respond to her pressure, the grandmother attempts to get her daughter-in-law, a dull young woman with a face "as broad and innocent as a cabbage," to help her convince Bailey to go to Tennessee rather than Florida because the children, John Wesley and June Star, have not yet visited Tennessee.
Bailey's wife also ignores the plea, but the non-vocal disrespect of the parents finds voice through the children. Their conduct toward the grandmother emphasizes the disrespect which is characteristic of the entire family.
When the family leaves for Florida the next morning, the grandmother, against Bailey's express order forbidding it, smuggles the family cat, Pitty Sing, into the car with her because she fears it would miss her too much, or that it would accidentally asphyxiate itself if left behind.
The cat does survive; ironically, however, it is responsible for the auto accident which leads to the family's death, and, contrary to the grandmother's view of her importance to the cat, it befriends the man who murders the entire family.
The cat alone survives. The events leading up to the death scene itself are designed by O'Connor to display the foibles of the family and to create a sense of foreboding. Shortly after leaving Atlanta, the family passes Stone Mountain, a gigantic outcropping upon which are carved, in bas-relief, images of the long-dead heroes of an equally dead Confederacy.
The grandmother, dressed so that "in case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady," carefully writes down the mileage of the car in anticipation of her return home.
She indulges in back-seat driving, acts as a tour guide, and attempts — by citing the conduct of children in her time — to chastise John Wesley and June Star for their rude remarks concerning "their native states and their parents and everything else. When June Star observes the child's lack of britches, the grandmother explains that "little niggers in the country don't have the things we do.
The grandmother takes the baby from its mother, and we see the contrast between the thin, leathery face of old age and the smooth bland face of the baby. Immediately thereafter, the car passes "an old family burying ground," and the grandmother points out the five or six graves in it — a number equal to the occupants of the car — and mentions that it belonged to a plantation which, in response to John Wesley's question concerning its present location, has "Gone With the Wind," an answer that is doubly ironic insofar as it recalls the death of the Old South.
The children, after they finish eating the food which they brought along with them, begin to bicker, so the grandmother quiets them by telling them a story of her early courtship days.
The story, which emphasizes the grandmother's failure to marry a man named Teagarden, who each Saturday afternoon brought her a watermelon, reveals both her and June Star's concern for material well being.
When June Star suggests that she would not marry a man who brought her only watermelons, the grandmother responds by replying that Mr. Teagarden purchased Coca-Cola stock and died a rich man For O'Connor, Coca-Cola, which was patented by a Georgia druggist, represented the height of crass commercialism.
In addition to June Star and the grandmother, we learn that Red Sammy Butts and his wife are also concerned with the pursuit of material gain.
Red Sammy regrets having allowed "two fellers" to charge gas; his wife is certain that the Misfit will "attact" the restaurant if he hears there is any money in the cash register. The scene at The Tower cafe appears to have been designed to illustrate the depths of self-interest into which the characters have fallen.
There seems to be reason, however, to suspect that the scene was created with more than surface details in mind. In an address to a group of writing students, O'Connor commented, "The kind of vision the fiction writer needs to have, or to develop, in order to increase the meaning of his story is called anagogical vision, and that is the kind of vision that is able to see different levels of reality in one image or situation.
There does seem to be an inability on the part of the characters to enter into any meaningful conversation; the grandmother irritates her son by asking if he wants to dance when his wife plays "Tennessee Waltz" on the nickelodeon — which costs a dime; June Star, who has just performed a tap routine, displays her lack of manners by insulting Red Sammy's wife with the comment, "I wouldn't live in a broken-down place like this for a million bucks.
As the family leaves The Tower, the children are again attracted to the gray monkey which attracted their attention when they first arrived. Members of the ape family have long been used in Christian art to symbolize sin, malice, cunning, and lust, and have also been used to symbolize the slothful soul of man in its blindness, greed, and sinfulness.
O'Connor could hardly have selected a better symbol to epitomize the group of people gathered at The Tower than this monkey, sitting in a Chinaberry tree biting fleas between its teeth, a totally self-centered animal.
The grandmother, having fallen asleep shortly after leaving the restaurant, awakens just outside "Toomsboro" in reality, an actual small town near Milledgeville; for purposes of the story, it functions effectively as a foreshadowing of the family's fatewhere she initiates the events that will lead to the death of the family.
Recalling a plantation which she visited as a young girl and which she wishes to visit again, the grandmother succeeds in getting her way by "craftily, not telling the truth but wishing she were," informing the children of a secret panel located in the house.
They pester Bailey into visiting the place by kicking, screaming, and making general nuisances of themselves. It is only after they have turned down a dirt road that "looked as if no one had traveled on it in months" that the grandmother remembers that the house was not in Georgia but in Tennessee.
· The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Violence and Grace appears in each chapter of A Good Man is Hard to Find. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & timberdesignmag.com://timberdesignmag.com O'Connor, Flannery.
A good man is hard to find and other stories. (A Harvest/HBJ book) A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND THE GRANDMOTHER didn't want to go to Florida. She wanted to said he was a very good-looking man and a gentleman and that he.
The Misfit and the Grandmother in Flannery O’ Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" - “A Good Man is hard to find,” a short story written by Flannery O’ Connor, is one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever come across to in my life.
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by: Flannery O’Connor "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" is a short story by Flannery O’Connor that was first published in A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor.
Home / Literature / A Good Man is Hard to Find / A Good Man is Hard to Find Analysis Literary Devices in A Good Man is Hard to Find. Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory The story's told in the third person, and it centers singularly on the grandmother.
"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" is a short story by Flannery O’Connor that was first published in timberdesignmag.com