A Good Man Is Hard To Find
“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” vs “Good Country People”: Themes & Characters Analysis
Although the prose is the genre that is as a natural material for the structural criticism in contrast to poetry, there are some problems found in the analysis of some pieces of prose as well.
Although the stories written by an outstanding American writer Flannery O’Connor are each a structurally independent piece, there are certain similarities in some of her novels. The novels in question are those called “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “Good Country People.” Themes, characters, and settings of these two novels will be compared in this research paper.
Although the texts touch upon entirely different aspects of people’s lives, they are strikingly similar when one takes a closer look at them. First of all, it is essential to consider the elements of the abovementioned texts. Their diversity should not deceive, for they deal with the same topic.
Settings of “Good Country People” & “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”
The difference between the settings of “Good Country People” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” is not that big as it might have seen at first. The first novel depicts a country road and a family moving towards the destination unknown, with an ambush on their way, and the bandits robbing and killing them. These settings are tragic and make one think of the fragility of life and the danger waiting for the travelers on their life journey.
The other text, which is supposed to make quite a different impression, has the settings unchanged – or, it should be said, they have been modified a little for the reader to get trapped into the split between the reality and the novel.
Both stories unwind in the same environment. The road that the family in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” is a symbol of the life path – or the way that we choose. In this respect, F.O’Connor is practically following the footprints of O’Henry with his themes of crime and punishment. No wonder that she on the O’Henry award (Kirk 16) once, for the art of depicting life as it is, without subdividing people into criminals and judges, or the poor and the rich, or the right and the wrong.
The idea of the wrong and the right is what following each piece of O’Connor’s prose. This is also a central “Good Country People” theme. The author is trying to convey the simple thesis of people’s imperfection and the world being, in fact, a place where terrible mistakes and misconceptions occur often. And she manages to do it brilliantly.
Characters in “Good Country People” & “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”
Speaking of the characters involved in both pieces, one must admit that the pattern taken by the author once is deliberately repeating itself in each of her stories. The critics go further in their suggestions about the topics implemented in the story. For instance, Spivey suggests that Flannery O’Connor depicts the collapsing world in her story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”: “In the first and the last stories of A Good Man Is Hard to Find, O’Connor presented her profound visions of the destruction of paralyzed worlds” (124).
Spivey also thinks that O’Connor wants to create the impression of the destruction of the fabricated view in the story (125). Indeed, as the old lady in the story dies, the last ray of hope for the world to stay the way it used to fade away, and the remaining of the past that the family was is buried now.
Analysis of “Good Country People” shows that the scenery there takes a lot after the previous story. Yet it lacks the idea of the journey that leads nowhere, while the previous novel was breathing with it. Here, everything is ok, but the author brings her readers again to the same atmosphere of the country that no longer exists – the old traditions of the American South that are slowly dying out.
What strikes most is O’Connor’s persistent attempt to depict the people who are painfully trying to keep the things that exist no longer and to revive the traditions and morals that have been left in the previous century. Their efforts have no result, yet they are resorting to the last hope of theirs, but they cannot understand that the old model of life that they are used to is something that will lead them into the abyss.
Speaking of the characters of the novels, one must mention that, in spite of their diversity, they are still cast of the same piece of mold. Whenever the reader takes “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” or “Good Country People,” the themes that he or she will inevitably face the are the same.
What differentiates O’Connor’s stories from the rest of the South American literature is that there are practically no good or bad characters. They are all bearing a piece of good and evil within, not to the same extent, of course, but O’Connor does not try to idealize any of them. She is following the trail of the history that can speak the truth better than anyone else can.
A youngster is filled with the ideas of the new beautiful world waiting for the people. An old reminiscence of the past buried long before he or she realized it, and a villain that breaks the hopes and lives of these people as he encounters them on his way – such a description can be applied to both stories. Although the plot is quite different in the mentioned stories, the cast of characters in “Good Country People” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” remains the same.
The old lady in the latter novel is almost a copy of Mrs. Hopewell, the woman who runs a household and rents the room to her tenants. Both women embody everything that the old South possessed, the morals to adhere to, the reliability, and the hope for the future. And they gradually change as their beliefs turn into ashes.
The son of the old lady in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” can be considered a prototype of the girl in the next story. With their shattered dreams and the new ideas that they think to have acquired on their own, while these concepts were carefully put into their consciousness by the propagandists of the new century ideals, they are equally tragic figures. They have nothing to take as the cornerstone for their future life – these are only the stepping stones that they can find. Sad, but true, such is their story.
Speaking about the villains in both stories, one could say that these are not certain people, and these are not people at all, but the evil embodied in mere mortals. Again, O’Connor gives a hint to the broken ideas and dreams of the South that have given birth to all these reckless and dangerous people who know no mercy and do not hesitate to kill the one who will stand in their way.
However strange that might sound, the villains in the novels serve as the symbol of the changes brought to the South. These are not people, but the fiery breath of the new that battles with the old. As they say, it is bad to live in a time of change.
The pattern of the elements that change as O’Connor proceeds with telling the readers her story is rather unusual. In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” the parts are interwoven so that the reader could feel the story float most naturally. It is peculiar that some of the critics notice the similarity between O’Connor’s prose and the Greek comedies (Scott 195):
Robert Donahoo argues that an examination of the form and mechanisms of “A Good Man Is Hard to Find“ reveals that the story is not merely idiosyncratically created, but patterned according to classical models developed by Dante and Aristophanes. He offers a reading of the story in its context. He concludes that O’Connor’s description of the Grandmother’s “change” – from merely exhibiting nice manners through words to showing love through action – conforms to the agon of Aristophanes’ comedies.
Such an idea seems rather logical. The pattern of changing from a humble human being into the raving and protesting creature is the idea that the text of “A Good Man Is Hard to Find“ is full of. However refined and elegant one’s manners might be, there comes the essence of a human when one’s life interests are being violated.
In comparison to this novel, the other one implicates some other changes. The change described here is somewhat different, and it means spiritual changes rather than the moral ones. The lead character of “Good Country People”, named Hulga, is supposed to pass the transformation of her consciousness. The protagonist of the story comes into the world reborn and free – but wounded again. Sad, but true is the fact that O’Connor does not let her characters to enjoy their victory in full – in fact, she does not even allow them to taste it.
What does Hulga learn about herself? Ready to break down her defense against men and give herself at last to a suitor, she finds herself relinquishing instead, all unwillingly, her wooden leg. It could be a painful scene, but in O’Connor’s hands, it is timed to comic perfection, and with a biting edge of irony – turned against the girl. (Orvell 60)
Compare and Contrast
The balance between the images and the events is perfect in the stories, yet there are certain elements of differentiation in both novels. They construct a perfect structure that amazes wit its harmony and the beauty within.
Though these are two separate stories, the images and the events of each coincide perfectly. The characters and settings of “Good Country People” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” look similar. The novels seem rather close in the stories that they are telling. The tightrope that they are leveled on is the writer’s skill to depict life as it is, without trying to make it more attractive.
In summary, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” presents the images that are typical for the southern states of the US. he line drawn between the good and the bad seems blurred. In the meantime, this is the same as what goes for the second novel, “Good Country People.” Its characters are the people stuck so deeply in their own beliefs that it becomes hard for them to acknowledge their faults and desires. That makes them no better than the strange man, a priest-impostor that was obsessed with the weird ideas and was trying to confuse Hulga.
It was him to take off her “human bondage,” her glasses, and her wooden leg and made her see that there are some things that people have to face.
The reason for the girl to suggest to him a runaway is not because she had fallen in love with him, and it can hardly be the gratitude for what he had done to him. The first moments without the support of the wooden leg and the spectacles that she used to rely on were full of pain, but not the relief – it was rather that she felt that together, it was not that scary to oppose the world full of misunderstanding and cruelty.
The images are fully corresponding to the events they are involved in, just as strange and needing crutches badly. The lame century was catching up with the runaways, and they hardly had any chance to escape, which the man understood pretty well, but which Hulga was unaware of. Poor thing, she had a lot of things to be disappointed about.
Next to them, there are the characters from the novel “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” Full of irony that the author sheds on the folk who thought that they could change the principles of the world, O’Connor at the same time feels sorry for the characters that are trying to match the on-coming era, but – alas! – It is absolutely in vain. The heroes of this story are a full match to the events that they get into since the mishaps that occur to these people are just as absurd and ridiculous as those people themselves.
There are certain links between these events in the two stories, as well as between the characters of “Good Country People” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. These links provide a deep insight into the atmosphere of the South in the times of its changes and make it clear that the main problem of these days was the beliefs broken by the stamping foot treading mercilessly on the values and morals of the country folk of the old South.
In summary, this is what can be the basis for the similarities between the two novels. The South reborn, with its traditions laid at rest, was the subject of O’Connor’s irony and deep grief. The author could not but feel that the South was following the road that would inevitably lead it into a dead end. As Orwell put it,
“One would certainly not want to underestimate O’Connor’s very real feelings about the South and about historical change in themselves. Her conservatism was strong but not unthinking.” (16)
This research paper aimed to compare and contrast O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “Good Country People.” The characters, settings, and themes of the novels feature similarities as well as differences. What makes the stories seem so similar and yet present two completely different views of the matter is her way of depicting the elements of the story. She weaves them into a pattern that is repeatedly telling about the morals and rules that the South has forgotten or turned its back on, and is trying to persuade that the new ideas bring even more suffering.
The similarity between the elements of the story is complete, and if there is something that cannot be hidden within, for it comes right up on the surface, crying for people to hear it. Although the ideas of the old South have been drowned, O’Connor still has the hope that people will change for better – or that they will change as far as they can.
Kirk, Connie A. Critical Companion to Flannery O’Connor. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2008. Print.
Orvell, Miles. Flannery O’Connor: An Introduction. Jackson, MI: University Press of Mississippi, 1991. Print.
Scott, Neil R. Flannery O’Connor: An Annotated Guide to Criticism. Hopewell, NJ: Timberlane Books, 2002. Print.
Spivey, Ted R. Flannery O’Connor: The Woman, the Thinker, the Visionary. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1997 Print.
Representation of Family in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Essay
The short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor is one of the most appealing in the American Literature, revolving round family matters. The short story’s main actress, Bailey’s mother, commonly called grandmother dominates all the actions unfolding in the entire story.
Since she stays with her son’s family, the grandmother presents herself as a good mother, despite her being selfish. It is clearly brought out that, the nuclear family is not in coherence with the grandmother, since most of the actions the family undertakes seem to be against her wishes (Ochshorn, 131). This is reflected when she requests that they go to Tennessee, while on the other hand, Bailey’s family considers Florida as the best place to go. This paper focuses on the presentation of family as represented in the entire short story.
After the family gets involved in an accident, the famous ‘Misfit’ and his gang holds up the family and threatens to kill them. In reaction, the grandmother attempts to save her own life by pleading with the murderers to leave her alone. According to Bandy (134), the selfish nature of the grandmother and her disregard to her family is evidenced when she seems to care the safety of the other family members. Quite significantly, there seems to be weak bond of love between the grandmother and Bailey’s family.
This is reflected by her unfeeling nature of watching the entire family die around her, as she pleads for her life. As held by Ochshorn (135), the family presented in this story seems incoherent not in actual family-love bond, since there seem to be not feeling for the other(s) when they are in danger. As a result of the grandmother’s selfish nature, the entire family is killed, since if she could have kept quite, no member of the family could have died.
However, the grandmother may seem wicked in the last part of the story, but her initial personality implies that she was a good grandmother to her family. As revealed by Bandy (127) in the onset of the story, the grandmother treats the whole family with a lot of respect, in spite of their ignorance of her opinions. Even if she seems manipulative to the children to go and see a house which was not there, she said it craftily.
Though she is manipulated by the family to go to Florida against her wish, she tries to maneuver ways of avoiding Florida creatively. With reference to Ochshorn (137), the grandmother is trying to relate with her family well, though using twisted goodness. On the other hand, Barley and her family seem not to consider the wishes of the grandmother, implying their selfish nature as well.
It should be noted that, the grandmother’s final action is by no means a charitable act of trying to defend the family from being murdered, but rather a strategy to save herself. Though it may be argued that, the grandmother’s final moment was a gracious to the entire family, but her goodness is a pretended one since she seems not to care the death of the other family members.
Basically, the grandmother emerges as having pretended good life by respecting her family, yet she had no actual family love for them. Generally, the unfolding of various events revolving around the grandmother brings her out as being self-centered, despite of her pretended goodness to the entire family.
Bandy, Stephen. Means, Meaning and Meditated Space in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. The Southern Quarterly. 44.4, (2007): 125-142.
Ochshorn, Kathleen. A Cloak of Grace: Contradictions in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. Studies in American Fiction. 32.4, (2004): 129-138.
A Good Man is Hard to Find: Literary Critical Analysis Essay
The short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” stands as the American Southern Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor’s most disturbing work of fiction. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” is the title work of O’Connor’s debut collection of short stories which appeared in 1955, and the piece remains her signature short story (Kinney 1).
The action of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” depicts a family vacation gone terribly awry. On a road trip to Florida a family from Atlanta encounter a homicidal escaped convict whom the media dubs The Misfit. The Misfit and his henchmen execute the entire family and steal their clothes, car and cat. O’Connor tells the story from the point of view of the grandmother.
“A Good Man is Hard to Find” centers upon two themes: selfishness, and individualism. Essentially the grandmother’s insistence on achieving her own selfish ends results in the death of her entire family, as well as the loss of her own life. This essay analyzes the story’s thematic message in regards to selfishness, individualism and its effect on the family as well as the larger community, as represented by The Misfit.
O’Connor identifies the main character – the grandmother – only by role, while all of the other character she provides with names. Despite having no name the grandmother’s character reveals itself early and profoundly; she is obsessed with appearances, connected to a vague Southern past, and concerned with propriety and the value of being a lady.
O’Connor describes her “navy blue straw sailor hat,” her “collars and cuffs [that] were white organdy trimmed with lace” and “purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet” that the grandmother pins at her neckline to ensure that “in case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (O’Connor 2).
Behavior wise the grandmother is a selfish woman who deliberately manipulates her family to suit her own purposes unapologetically and with impunity.
She intentionally misinforms her son Bailey about her cat, Pitty Sing, which she smuggles into the car underneath her “big black valise that looked like the head of a hippopotamus,” even though Bailey has expressly forbid the cat to share the motel room with them (O’Connor 1). Pitty Sing later brings about the deaths of the whole family following the car accident and ensuing encounter with The Misfit.
The grandmother’s pride and inflated sense of self importance, not to mention her failing memory, bring about the family’s downfall. Upon waking up from a nap in the car, the grandmother claims to remember a plantation house from her youth. Even though she knows that her son Bailey “would not be willing to lose any time looking at an old house…the more she talked about it, the more she wanted to see it once again and find out if the little twin arbors were still standing” (O’Connor 5).
Her son’s reluctance, in her mind, remains a simple obstacle to overcome in her desire to get things done her way. Even though Bailey’s “jaw was as rigid as a horseshoe” in response to her goading, the grandmother does not relent (O’Connor 5).
Instead, she lies, and enlists the shrill support of her grandchildren: “There was a secret:-panel in this house,” she said craftily, not telling the truth but wishing that she were, “and the story went that all the family silver was hidden in it when Sherman came through but it was never found” (O’Connor 5). Having stirred the children’s imagination, the grandmother lies again – “It’s not far from here, I know,” the grandmother said. “It wouldn’t take over twenty minutes” (O’Connor 5). The fact is she doesn’t know.
She has no idea where they are. It is not until they are hopelessly lost on the dirt road that “looked as if no one had traveled on it in months” that the grandmother’s “horrible thought” reminds her that the plantation house in question does not exist in the state of Georgia, but in Tennessee, though she is too full of pride to admit this to her son (O’Connor 6) And the wild goose chase that she leads her family on, again, for selfish purposes, leads them to their doomful meeting with The Misfit.
Similarly, the strident individualism that propels the grandmother’s fateful actions manifests itself squarely in the character of The Misfit. The Misfit, like the grandmother, focuses exclusively on himself and employs the other people around him as pawns meant to achieve his own selfish needs and wants (Hooten 198).
The objectification of others – in the case of the grandmother this means the objectification of her own family – results in an overall loss of cohesiveness, wherein “community holds no value” (Hooten 198). Set adrift, peripatetic and aimlessly moving from one empty community to another, “The Misfit exemplifies this void [as] the lost individual who relates to the community through constantly shifting roles” (Hooten 198). Like the grandmother, he takes what he needs in order to get what he wants, and then moves on.
“A Good Man is Hard to Find” also treats individualism through the lens of identity. We see clearly that The Misfit shares Bailey’s ire at the senseless grandmother’s shriek “You’re The Misfit!” she said. “I recognized you at once!” “Yes’m,” the man said…”But it would have been better for all of you, lady, if you hadn’t of reckernized me.” Bailey turned his head sharply and said something to his mother that shocked even the children.
The old lady began to cry and The Misfit reddened” (O’Connor 8). When The Misfit’s fellow criminal Bobby Lee returns from the woods with Bailey’s yellow shirt full of parrots, a moment happens wherein The Misfit, by donning the dead man’s attire, acquires his identity for a moment (Gresham 18). He, like Bailey, views the grandmother’s idiotic obsession with decorum as “selfish, superficial, and condescending,” yet unlike Bailey, he remains free to take action to condemn her (Kinney 1)
The short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” represents Flannery O’Connor’s concern that selfishness and rampant individualism casts people apart and promotes the disenfranchisement of characters such as The Misfit, who invariably end up as “self-focused wanderers without community who use others as means to their own ends” (Hooten 197).
Very little difference exists between the character of the grandmother and the character of The Misfit, aside from their social viability. Both remain selfish and extreme individualists, who will lie, steal, manipulate and murder to affect their own ends. In Flannery O’Connor’s hands, this selfishness and individualism collides at a disaster point and initiates the deaths of five innocent people. Worse, the instigator of their murder is one of their own.
Gresham, Stephen. “Things Darkly Buried: In Praise of A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” Shenandoah 60.1-2 (2010): 17-18. Web.
Hooten, Jessica. “Individualism in O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find.” The Explicator 66.4 (2008): 197-198. Web.
Kinney, Arthur F. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Overview.” Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Watson. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. 1-2. Print.
O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing: Custom Edition. Eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2011. 1-12. Print.
Further Study: FAQ
? How is A Good man Is Hard to Find southern gothic?
This story is a prime example of Southern Gothic literature due to its unsettling events, strange characters, and a strong sense of American South.
? What is a brief summary of A Good Man Is Hard to Find?
The plot of the short story centers around the family road trip that took a tragic turn. The grandmother asked the change the route for sightseeing. Such a detour leads to the car-crash.
? What point of view is A Good Man Is Hard to Find?
The story is written in the third person with a focus on the grandmother. We see the events from her perspective as it’s the only viewpoint that the reader can access directly.
? When was A Good Man Is Hard to Find written?
A Good Man Is Hard to Find was written in 1953. The title was taken from the song, which was popular in 1927.
Flannery O’Connor’s Story “A good man is hard to find” Essay
After reading “A Good Man Is Hard to find”, the reader gets varied opinions about some of the major characters. Analysing the Grandmother is no different: it reveals varied opinions about her nature and intentions. A reader who is not keen maybe confused about who the Grandmother really is.
The reader may perceive the Grandmother as a manipulator who uses every opportunity for her own selfish gain. Alternatively she may also be viewed as a normal human being who has common human weaknesses and faults like any other person, but despite these weaknesses she still tries to do good to her family members.
The Grandmother’s final act can be interpreted in two ways. It may be seen as an indication of character transformation, after realising that she has led a bad life and thus wants to change for good. Some people may perceive her actions as another way of her usual attempts to save herself. Despite the varied opinion about the grandmother, her manipulative behaviour is very clear to the reader throughout the story.
The grandmother is outrightly a manipulative woman throughout the story. However, her manipulative tendency is concealed in the manner in which she expertly executes it. She takes every opportunity to have her way in every situation that does not favour her. This is evident from the onset of the short story till its end.
For instance, she manipulates Bailey so that not to go to Florida by scaring him about the criminal activities in Florida and the threat she is likely to experience once she goes there. She tells Bailey that there is a loose criminal in Florida and that she cannot take any of her children to that place with such a criminal at loose (O’Connor Para. 1). Bailey does not appear scared by that comment.
So that to convince Bailey not to go to Florida the Grandmother comes with another manipulative scheme. She tells Bailey that children ought to go somewhere else they have never been before (O’Connor Para. 2). However, this trick does not work as the family eventually travels to Florida.
Her manipulativeness continues to be seen throughout the story as she uses other people to get what she wants. The grandmother knows that Bailey would not allow her to visit the old plantation. She therefore excites the children about visiting the old plantation. She also lies to Bailey that there was a hidden family treasure in the house in the old plantation (O’Connor Para. 45). It is the children who convince the reluctant Bailey to visit the old plantation, much to the grandmother’s satisfaction.
Other than her actions, her dressing and mannerism too are manipulatively used to conceal her real identity and intentions. From the onset of the story she portrays herself as the ultimate lady by through her dressing. She tries very much to look like a respectable lady through her dressing as she adorns herself in neat clothes trimmed with beautiful laces. She also adorns a beautiful necklace.
Her sense of dressing created a notion that she was a respectable lady to anyone who saw her (O’Connor para 12). Her ladylike dressing is centrally to her real character.
Her manipulation can be seen from another perspective. It highlights the power of brain over physical might. This is seen through her relationship with The Misfit. She successfully uses such endearing terms as “you’re a good man” and “You wouldn’t shoot a lady, would you?” towards The Misfit (O’Connor Para. 89) to catch him off guard and make him not kill her.
The Misfit’s response that he would hate to kill her also highlights the fact that the grandmother manipulative tendency reveals the misfit’s other side: that he is not a misfit after all.
The grandmother tries very much to present herself as a prefect lady. This is done through her dressing and general mannerisms. However, her manipulative behaviour is a stack contrast of her outward disposition. Her lifestyle reveals duo personality, which is useful to the development of the story. What makes her even more useful to the story is the way in which she prevalently manipulates her way for selfish gains.
O’Connor, Flannery. “A good man is hard to find.” n.d. Web.
Analysis of (Mary) Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” Research Paper
Authentically, ‘a good man’ is a person who posses excellent or admirable moral conduct. Flannery O’Connor is a staunch Catholic but a famous playwright in the American industry whose storylines mainly focus on Christianity with tragic and brutal as thematic features.
In her fictitious tragic story, A good man is hard to find, Flannery O’Connor gives a pernicious discernment of the phrase ‘good man’. From her allegorical story, O’Connor describes a ‘good man’ using some of her principal characters, Grandmother, and Red Sammy. According to the characters, a person fits the description of a good man if his/her behavior, norms, beliefs, and personality correlate with the values of the beholder even if one is devoid of morals.
Therefore, the definition of ‘good man’ is beyond what the eyes can see. Nevertheless, despite the poor moral conduct, God’s grace is always sufficient to every man. Concurring with the behavior of Misfit and Grandmother, O’Connor gives the elusive description of a good man relating it to gracility as a Christian value.
The theme of a good man
According to the novelist, the meaning of the word ‘good man’ may be debatable or relative depending on the judgment of an individual. Intentionally, O’Connor enlightens the world on the varied apprehension of the aforementioned phrase thus purporting it as meaningless.
For instance, Grandmother chooses to use the phrase ‘good man’ when referring to men who have similar perception to hers. She sidelines the word moral, which should concur with the interpretation of good men. In the first case, during the trip, the family encounters Red Sammy.
He angrily raises his complaints about two men whom he gave gasoline on credit. According to Red Sammy, the two men not only seemed trustworthy but also ‘good’ thus fit for the credit. Although grandmother reprimands him for trusting strangers, she eventually brands him a ‘good man’. Therefore, from Sammy’s case Grandmother defines a good man as a gullible person with unsound judgment and subterfuge faith. Inherently, her perception about good men is elusive to the audience.
In the second instance, grandmother calls Misfit a good man with considerable urgency after realizing her life is in danger. Moreover, she applies the phrase to Misfit because of his inability to shoot a woman. Although the moral conduct, social values and norms of Misfit differs from those of grandmother’s, she desperately refers to him as a good man. Her skewed or wayward definition of a good man lies deeply in the perception that he does not have “common blood” (O’Connor 578).
Thusly, grandmother’s diligently calls a man good if his believes are perpendicular to hers. The aforementioned cases, elusively describes a ‘Good man’ as somebody who may lack morals or kindness in his personality. According to Muller, a critic shows his dissatisfaction in the mixing of Christian values (Catholicism) like Grace with gothic aspects like killing (20). Although the beliefs and personality of grandmother and Misfit are not morally upright, salvation or grace reconnects them.
Theme of Grace
O’Connor expatiates the contemporary believe about Grace as a favor to not only the righteous but also to the sinful, wicked and unrighteous human beings. God confers grace even to people with moral decadence. Based on the aforementioned expositions about ‘good men,’ Grandmother and Misfit have the least chances of finding grace.
Grandmother posses some queer non-Christian virtues like lying and unappreciative. Besides manipulating her son in all his endeavors, she also lies to her grandchildren about a house that never existed. Eventually moral weakness leads to the tragic end of the whole family. According to biblical teachings, Grandmother is the least person to receive God’s grace.
When the family encounters Misfit and his Henchmen, grandmother recognizes him as her child by saying “you are one of my children (OConnor 580).” Although Misfit is a serial killer, Grandmother accepts him as one of her own giving equality to humanity. On the other hand, according to critics O’Connor connection of murders, tragic accidents, and moral decadence to Christian values like grace is unreasonable (Carter 20).
Grandmother shouts the name of Jesus when facing Misfit. Furthermore, she persuades Misfit to repent his sins, yet she does not know how to compose a prayer. On the other hand, after committing the mass killings Misfit says, “It’s no real pleasure in life” (O’Connor 585). Meaning he finds no joy in murdering people, and he may, in the future, change his habits. Therefore, the ambiguous, strange doctrines of Christianity like Grace give eternity to Grandmother and Misfit.
From O’Connor’s conclusion of the story, salvation applies to all individuals. However, challenges, misfortunes, and disagreements accompany an individual before acquiring the above norm. According to critics, O’Connor connects two worlds when she gives immoral people eternity; therefore, she violates Christianity teachings, which claims eternity to righteousness.
Despite grandmother presenting herself as righteous with admirable judgment skills, she realizes her life is not different from Misfit who was a prisoner and murder. Therefore, through expounding grace and ‘good man’ as her thematic elements, O’Connor calls for human equality in the world.
Carter, Martin. The True Country: Themes in the Fiction of Flannery O’Connor. Kingsport, TN: Kingsport Press, 969.
Muller, Gilbert. Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O’Connor and the Catholic Grotesque. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1972.
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is hard to find. USA: The State University, 1993.
Literature: A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor Essay
A Good Man Is Hard to Find is a short story that was written by Flannery O’Connor and got published in the year 1955. The story was initially included in the “Modern Writing I” before it was later published in another anthology “The House of Fiction” in 1960.
This vast appearance in various anthologies has made the story one of the most cherished works of this author. The story has exhibited all the characteristics for which the author is best known for her religious faith. It is a fiction work of well-drawn characters that are represented through a philosophy which underscores the author’s devout religious belief and faith in the Roman Catholic way.
A Good Man Is Hard to Find is actually one of the highly regarded works by this author where characterization is well exhibited through out the plot. In this story, O’Connor’s own attitude towards her faith is observed in the way she paints her characters through aspects, such as dialogue, whereby each character befits well the role he or she plays in the story.
Characterization in this short story is displayed through various tools such as actions, clothing, speech and dialogue, family life, moral codes, and thoughts and opinions, among others. However, through the characters’ dialogue and speech, all other aspects are well-expressed to the readers.
The writer’s talent and ability to accord the characters’ speech that would reflect their social class, moral values, age, and religious stand makes the story complete with its intended meaning of expressing her religious faith. For instance, the children are constantly heard to say things that sound childish and just fit them better as kids.
Even though the story opens innocently, the author starts by introducing the character of the story’s antagonist; the Misfit. Misfit is observed to be an escaped murder convict who repeats his habits by killing the entire family towards the end of the story.
Via this character, the writer manages to explore the concept of ‘grace’ in Christianity where it comes out clear that God’s divine pardon of humans can only be guaranteed through pleading or asking. As observed in the story, it is only the grandmother who manages to attain grace at the moment when she is observing the death and recognizes the murderer; the Misfit, as her own child (Evans 36).
For the writer, the grace of God is not only a force that is lacking within the character, but something that is undeserved. However, the characters in the story often miss out the opportunity to make a connection in the real perception whereby their spiritual blindness is said to hinder them from coming into terms with the truth.
Family dysfunctions and problems reveal in the story. The manner by which every family member would interact with the others is used to bring forth a character of the heroes.
This could be observed through a number of episodes in the story such as the kids’ behavior of disrespect towards the older folks, the unsuccessful attempts of Bailey to uphold his responsibility as the ‘father’ and also the baby’s fixation by the mother.
However, despite of all these, the family is still intact together and would apparently manage to take family vacations together. This compared to the situation of the Misfit’s family where their own father is killed displays a big family dysfunction.
All these aspects observe the truth in the writer’s perceptions through the words of the grandmother that “a good man is hard to find.” The aspects as explored through the characters have managed to come out clearly as the writer’s own characterization. The author observes the way people often lie about their real religious faith. For instance, as the Misfit observes, “she would always have been a good person, if somebody out there would have to shoot her every other minute of her life” (O’Connor 17).
Through the use of violence, something that contrasts her stand as a Stuart believer and Christian, the writer manages to bring the characters in the story to reality. Through the use of violence, O’Connor is finally able to make some of the hard-headed characters, such as the grandmother, come into terms to their moment of grace, and through this, the writer manages to express her real attitude towards Christianity.
Evans, Richard. “A Good Man Is Hard To Find.” Dark Humor 12.34 (2010): 34- 36. Print.
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man Is Hard to Find. New York: New English Library, 1962. Print.
A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories Essay
Born in Savannah, Georgia, Flannery O’Connor has come out as one of the most outstanding figures in South American literature. She has a dozen of short stories to her credit and two novels. Although she died at a tender age of 39, her literary works have stood out as some of the most compelling works, always revealing the structure of the society in a clear and conscious manner. Her book ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ is one book that brings out the society of America in the late thirties and early forties.
Insecurity was rife and there was fear of trigger happy individuals who would find fun in inflicting pain on innocent individuals. The story reveals vulnerability of members of the society to the attack of roaming gangsters. One character helps in bringing out this in a clearer way. The old lady, who was the mother to Bailey helps in making this point clearer. This paper seeks to analyze the character traits of this old woman.
Character Traits and Motivations
The old woman comes out with very strong traits in this story. When we are introduced to this person, we see someone who is very controlling. She had a plan that was contrary to what the rest of the family had. She tried to convince the son, Bailey, to change the planned trip but with no success. When she met Misfit, she tried to control him by telling him what he was supposed to do. She says, “You are one of my own children.”
However, this trait did not help her in any way. Another trait that comes out is the fact that she is flexible. She easily accepted to travel with the family to the destination she was against initially. This old woman was to an extent a racist. She says, “Little niggers in the country don’t have things like we do” (O’Connor 5).
This statement showed that she had some reservation towards the blacks. She also comes out as an intelligent person. She was able to identify the criminal who had escaped from prison. She says, “You are the Misfit” (O’Connor 14)
Character’s Interaction with Others
She comes out as a brave and easygoing character that is very social and sociable. When they visited Sammy’s hotel, she easily strikes off a discussion with Sammy. This gives the impression that she was able to create an easy atmosphere around her, making even strangers feel homely near her.
She engages the two children in discussions before and during the journey. She was able to engage the criminals in a discussion even after knowing their identity. This woman also knows how to interact with others regardless of age. She gets along with the two children and Sammy, Bailey, and the criminals. She knows exact topics to bring in each occasion and with each age group.
What Other Characters Say About Your Character
From what others say about a character in a given story, it is always possible to determine the trait of a character. The author states much about this woman. The author says, ‘and waved her head and was very dramatic” (O’Connor 5).
The dramatic nature of this character is witnessed throughout the story. After they had shot her, Bobby Lee notes, “She was a talker, wasn’t she?” (O’Connor 23).
This trait comes out throughout the story.
Character analysis can be done from various approaches. In the story ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’, the Bailey mother comes out with a very strong character. The author has brought her out as a brave person who would talk even in the face of death. She is also very social and flexible in her decision. Just before she was shot, she showed concern even for a criminal like Misfit.
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories. Florida: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1976. Print.
Violence in “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” Explicatory Essay
Violence in “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
O’Connor is one of the famous writers who have made tremendous contributions in the world of literature. She holds a belief that violent situations usually enable people’s real characters to emerge. She argues that once it surfaces, it demonstrates a man’s innate desires as well as his dark side.
She uses violence in a rhetorical manner in the story entitled “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, which confirms her beliefs. O’Connor argues that extreme circumstances usually reveal the true nature of human beings. Violence is usually defined as the use of physical force or emotional torment in order to get something from someone as well as in situations where people want to satisfying their desires.
Violence situation in the story entitled “A good man is hard to find” begins when the family is on a road trip to Florida during the vacation. To some extent, violence begins in an indirect manner when the grandmother secretly plans to use tactics that would make her Son Bailey to change his mind so that she would visit plantations she had earlier visited.
After inciting the children, they become excited and they yearn to visit the house that has some family silver. The grand mother incites them and it is said that “The children begins to yell and scream that they wanted to see the house…” (O’Connor, “Today’s Words: A Good Man Is Hard To Find”).
This provokes John Wesley to kick the driver’s seat in the verge of making his dad agree to their demand, making his father to lose control and they land into a ditch. Out of that violent situation, we are able to establish grandmother’s characters which include being selfish and self-centered. She seems to be narcissistic in nature and this has become apparent during the incident that leads to an accident.
It is also evident that John Wesley is mean, a character that comes out clearly during the incident. Earlier on we see a situation whereby, John Wesley is asked what he would do to Misfit. His answer is “I’d smack his face” (O’Connor, “Today’s Words: A Good Man Is Hard To Find”). Hitting the backseat creates a scenario where violence is evident. The situation depicts the boy’s violent nature
Misfit, who is an escaping prisoner, had killed his father before he was arrested. This is situation that portrays him as a violent character. However, he denies the allegations saying that his father died of flu. In the bush, the sound of guns are heard when Bailey and his son are taken there by Hiram and Bobby Lee.
The reason they are taken there is unknown at first. One would think they want to get some information from them. Both Hiram and Bobby Lee act violently since they kills Bailey and his son Hiram puts on Bailey’s shirt. Two more pistol shots are heard and the grandmother begs for her life. First, she does not take into account that her children and grandchildren could be in danger.
She tells Misfit “…I know you wouldn’t shoot a lady…” (O’Connor, “Today’s Words: A Good Man Is Hard To Find”). Out of this violent situation, we find that she consider her welfare first before thinking about the rest; a character that emerges clearly symbolizing her dark side.
The first pistol shot and the subsequent ones in the incident mark the killing of Bailey, his wife and children. Misfit also shoots the grandmother three times on the chest after having debate about Christ killing her instantly. Out of this situation, we find that misfit is an antagonist of Christ and he seems to be provoked by discussions about him.
The grandmother thought that misfit is a good man more than she thought of her children. It is evident that before the violence, Misfit displays some characters that would make people see him as a nice person. He is even apologetic to the grandmother. However, he confronts, endangered as well as murders the entire family. Previously, he was a gospel singer and did other jobs which made people think he was a nice man; however, Misfit has a dark side that clearly came out in his acts of violence and coercion.
He can do anything including killing innocent people instead of letting them live in case they recognize him. This reveals his animosity nature. Initially, he tells the grandmother that it would have been better for them all if she did not recognize him. Misfit reprimands Bobby Lee by making fun of the grandmother. This makes us learn of his desperation. We find him saying “Shut up, Bobby Lee…it’s no real pleasure in life” (O’Connor, “Today’s Words: A Good Man Is Hard To Find”).
In conclusion, O’Connor is able to show her belief concerning violence in this story. It is worth noting that in violent situations, a man usually exposes the traits that are least dispensable in his character. That is the personality which is enduring in an individual.
O’Connor, Flannery. Today’s Words: A Good Man Is Hard To Find. 1November 2011. <http://www.cityofderbywritingcompetition.org.uk/>
Psychoanalytical Analysis of a Book “A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Revelation” by Flannery O’Connor Essay
The stories under analysis – A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Revelation – focus on the psychological and moral analysis of the main actors with regard to their perception and attitude to the external social environment.
Specifically, in the story A Good Man is Hard to Find, one of the main characters the grandmother, who does not have a name, is represented as a good Christian; she believes that her moral principles dominate over others, but in fact she is a selfish person whose hypocrisy does not allow her to adequately asses her personality.
Similarly, the main heroes of Revelation also discuss the importance of being a highly moral personality and appreciating the values and virtues accepted in society. Specifically, Mrs. Turpin considers herself as a morally superior and well-educated woman who the right to judge other people. Additionally, other heroes of the short stories serve as antagonists who confront the moral stances that have been firmly established by protagonist.
O’Connor’s short stories partially reflect autobiographic information. Specifically, in A Good Man is Hard to Find, the protagonist is a woman who lacks attention on the part of her family and who is overwhelmed with her past. Being arrogant and cynical, she fails to adequately assess her family members, who she believes have low morale.
By recollecting her young years, the grandmother confesses, “in my time…children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else. People did right then” (A Good Man is Hard to Find 34). The moral superiority of the heroine is also recognized by Bonney who believes, “self-righteously superior, she therefore can justify all of her own behavior, whether it involves bribing her granddaughter” (347-348). Her egoistic nature is also represented in her attempt to please the Misfit and avoid punishment.
Similar to the grandmother, Mrs. Turpin is also obsessed with her moral principles and, therefore, she strongly beliefs in her right to evaluate the morality of actions of other people. When the woman arrives at the hospital, she enters the waiting room that is full of people.
Mrs. Turpin starts a conversation with “a pleasant lady” to express her attitude to the surrounding people, by making different remarks. The heroine also gives different labels to people, which are the only names for those characters. In such a way, Mrs. Turpin will “occupy herself with the question of who she would have chosen to be if she could be herself” (Revelation 195). The woman tries to grasp any opportunity to praise her own nobleness and grateful nature.
Because Mr. Turnip wants to be good to other people, she is confident that her moral principles are superior. The woman also claims that her superior position is due to the fact that she and her husband Claud own a land. When she is insulted by Mary Grace, the embodiment of religious heroine Mary, she believes that this is a God’s sign that makes her re-evaluate her destination.
The Misfit is among the most difficult and mysterious characters in the book who psychological portrait is ambiguous. In the story, the hero explains, “I call myself the Misfit […] because I can’t make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment” (A Good Man is Hard to Find 142). While pursuing the Misfit’s responses, it is difficult to define whether his explanations could be trusted or not. One the hand, he claims that he loved his parents; on the other hand, the Misfit is in jail because he killed his father.
To explain the ambivalence of the Misfit’s psychological and moral stage, Whitlock asserts, “…while redemption is made possible by divine action, it requires the essence of humanity. Without The Misfit, there could be no redemption” (9-10). Hence, this character serves as the indicator of the character’s genuine intentions and fears. The grandmother now realizes that she could die and, therefore, she starts flattering The Misfit to avoid punishment.
The “Misfit” of Revelation is Mary Grace who also serves as the measure of human generosity and morale. In fact, the confrontation of the good and the evil forces converge to ensure the message of grace. Although labeled as an ugly good with bad disposition, Mary Grace is outraged and expresses her indignation over Mrs. Turpin by throwing a book entitled Human Development at the woman’s left eye.
In this respect, Mary Grace is “a literary representation and a psychic projection of the shadow, the repressed, inferior aspects of the personality which comprise the personal unconscious” (Rowley n. p.).
The girl reflects the degree of Mr. Turpin’s inappropriate behavior and her extreme resentment of other people in the waiting room. From a psychological point of view, there is a distinction between the personal shadow, referring to the personal unconscious, and archetypal shadows, representing the evil force. Both types of shadows are usually confronted through protection.
At this point, when Mrs. Turpin unconsciously recognizes the shadow in the girl, she projects it within her own unconsciousness, although she is completely unaware of this projection. Mary Graces’ spiteful stares and apocalyptic declarations could definitely induce a projection in a “pleasantly disposed” woman such as Ruby Turpin.
By separating herself from the surrounding world, Mr. Turpin fails to understand that the moral superiority over people is not the way to salvation and self-determination. At the same time, she tries to self-express through the surrounding people, by demonstrating that she deserves to gain God’s forgiveness.
To explain, Mrs. Turpin’s intentions, Rowley provides an explanation for the woman’s individual nature, being “a complicated system between the individual consciousness and society, fittingly enough a kid of mast, designed on the one hand to make a definition impression upon others, and on the other, to conceal the true nature of the individual” (n. p.) Therefore, Ruby
Turpin considers herself as a kind-hearted, noble, and honest person and, therefore, she is convinced that she is blessed by God. For the woman and people calling her a genuinely good persona, serious psychic repercussions might occur. As a result of this prognosis, when Mrs. Turpin defines herself as very good person, she confronts immediately with the unconscious.
The evident connection between the conscious, representing Mrs. Turpin and the unconscious performed by Mary Grace define the full psychological portrait of the main heroine who fails to acknowledge that all people are equal in front of God and, she does not have the right to label anyone. Therefore, all her attempts to prove her moral and religious superiority fail at the end of the story. Similar to Mrs. Turpin, the grandmother’s effort to persuade The Misfit of her high morality turns out be a failure as well.
In fact, flattering and explicit demonstration of her high respect of other people does not help to conceal her selfish and arrogant nature. Although she considers herself “a lady” and “good Christian”, she strives to look like a good person rather than be a good person. In both stories, O’Connor proves that revelation and salvation is possible through recognition of the fact that people do not have privileges that are identified by their status, age, or property.
In the stories, the act of denial and redemption does not have an actual force because both the grandmother and Mrs. Turpin realize that the Doom’s day will come and that their moral superiority will not help them to survive. From a psychological perspective, the antagonistic heroes play the role of the unconscious voice that overtly warns them about their inappropriate behavior, which can lead to serious consequences.
In conclusion, although the grandmother and Mrs. Turpin are confident that God praise their high morality and obedience, they rate themselves superior to other characters. Specifically, the grandmother believes that her relative do not appreciate her as a personality and, nevertheless, she considers her a good person and a lady who deserves greater attention. Similar to the grandmother, Mrs. Turpin is confident that she has the right to label people and divide them into classes.
She believes that her privileged status, as well as the fact that she owns a land, could save her from God’s judgment. However, their antagonistic heroes – the Misfit and Mary Grace – become the measurements of their inappropriate and arrogant attitude toward other people, leading to serious consequences. They also take the role of the voice of the unconscious that refers to the disguised portrayal of the protagonists.
Bonney, William. “The Moral Structure Of Flannery O’connor’s A Good Man Is ..” Studies In Short Fiction 27.3 (1990): 347. Print.
O’Connor, Flannery “Revelation”, Everything That Rises Must Converge. Ed. Robert Fitzgerald. US: Farrar, Straus, and Girough, 1965. 191-217. Print.
Rowley, Rebecca. “Individuation and Religious Experience: A Jungian Approach to O’Connor’s “Revelation”” The Southern Literary Journal. 25.2 (1995).1 Print.
Whitlock, Reta Ugena. “Queering “The Misfit”: Locating a Curriculum of Place Within Flannery O’Conor’s Fundamentalist Narrator”. Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies. 4 (2008): 2-16. Print.
The Message of Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” Essay
Life is a puzzle and as people continue to explain why the most precious things are hard to get, the puzzle seems to become more complex. It does not tell why gold and silver, to mention but a few, lie deep underground. This is a reality, subject to no squabble explaining why thoughtful playwrights like Flannery O’Connor come in handy to authenticate it. In her compelling masterwork A Good Man is Hard to Find, she points out that, what people mean by ‘good men’ is actually different from its real meaning.
According to O’Connor, a man is good to another person, if what he does concurs with the person’s values, regardless of morals. However, God’s grace awaits any willing person no matter the weight of his/her sins. Featuring Misfit, a male character in the play, O’Connor’s view of life and salvation agrees with his as the tale unfolds. Subtle meaning of a ‘good man’ stands out as part of O’Connor’s message as exposited in this work.
A Good Man
The phrase ‘good man’ and the theme of who a good man is, according to peoples’ judgment in the play, stand abused. O’Connor intentionally brings in this matter to confirm that ‘good’ is actually relative, varying with people and hence meaningless. Grandmother randomly uses the term ‘good man’ when referring to men.
According to her, a man is good if what he does or what he can do concurs with what her take is on the same, given the chance, regardless of the prevailing moral teachings. For instance, as the family stops at a bistro, it encounters a man, Red Sammy, the owner of the restaurant.
His complaints are evident concerning a case where he has allowed two men to purchase gasoline on credit. According to him, they appeared ‘good’ and fit for credit. However, the two men fail to pay, the reason that makes Red Sammy declare them untrustworthy. As he demands to know why he does so from Grandmother, she says, “Because you’re a good man!” (O’Connor 580). Red Sammy is easily deceived, bears poor judgment skills, and has blind faith. Is he good?
None of these is good, yet Grandmother calls him good because she can relate to what the man does. Moreover, the grand mother desperately calls Misfit a good man. This comes from the claim that, the Misfit cannot shoot a woman, though this is not the case, as the man does not clarify it.
Therefore, out of blindness, Grandmother goes on and says, “I know you’re a good man at heart. I can just look at you and tell” (O’Connor 582). Based on the aforementioned expositions, the two men are ‘good’ according to the grandmother, not because they are morally upright, but because they concord with her values. These people are not ‘good’ per se, yet grace abounds for them as expounded next.
The theme of ‘grace’ stands out in O’Connor’s play. She brings to light the fact that grace is for all, but not for the righteous only. God bestows this favor to all His people, regardless of their present sins and worth noting is that, the most unlikely candidates end up receiving it. Neither grandmother nor Misfit is spiritually upright.
They seem not fit for God’s grace. They bear evident flaws and weaknesses. For instance, Grandmother is a liar. She lies to her grandchildren that a certain house she once saw has a secret panel. This is no more than an exaggeration, aimed at making it appear interesting to them than it actually is.
She also controls her son and believes that she is the correct person to pass judgments to people, calling them good and telling them what to do. For instance, she tells Misfit, “If you would pray…Jesus would help you” (O’Connor 584). The reason behind the prayer is that Misfit is a murderer, who ought to repent for forgiveness. Ironically, Grandmother cannot even compose a prayer sentence. Both are unlikely candidates of grace as people can claim, but this is far from the case. Grace awaits them.
As they unravel the enigma behind Jesus’ work of raising the dead, Grandmother cries shouting the name of Jesus. She even exposits, “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” (O’Connor 585). She now realizes that all are human beings and equal. To realize this, owing to the evident prevailing differences in people, calls for the grace of God.
Grandmother has it, despite her flaws. In addition, Misfit initially delights in killing people but as the play unfolds, he declares that, “It’s no real pleasure in life” (O’Connor 585). He realizes that happiness comes with solely by knowing Jesus. It does not come from killing but from saving the lives of people, just as Jesus did. This is grace and grace in deed!
Misfit’s view of life and salvation agrees with O’Connor’s observations. According to the two, challenges must precede salvation. Both have experienced enough of them and they can testify that joy is only in Jesus. To confirm this, O’Connor attests she would have no grounds to write, see, or savor anything if she were not a catholic.
This is no more different from Misfit’s words that, “There is no pleasure in life” (O’Connor 585). There is no joy outside the realm of Christianity and regardless of their past, whether a sinner like Grandmother and Misfit, grace abounds for all. It is there for murderers, liars, as well as for you.
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find. USA: The State University, 1993.