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A Good Man is Hard to Find: Chief of All Sinners Essay

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In Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find. We meet an older woman simply known as the Grandmother. She is a prideful, selfish and ignorant person. Throughout the story she manages to make situations harder and harder for the characters until she leads them all, including herself to their demise. One could easily read the story and see her being a fairly flat character, but that would not be a quality interpretation. Instead there is so much more beneath her attitude, that not only makes her more interesting, but also relevant to humanity. O’Connor, being a Christian, writer inadvertently leaves vivid Christian imagery in her story. We see this in three distinct places, first in her general personality and how that affects those around her. Next, we relate more in her reaction to the outside force of adversity that the Misfit places upon her. Finally, and most importantly she experiences her eventual moment of grace and redemption.
The grandmother’s personality is that of the typical human character. We all know someone like her. Some of us, more than likely, are her. The key is to break down those nuances of her and see our own selves within. We see her behavior exposed within the first sentence of the story, “The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida. She wanted to visit some of her connections in east Tennessee and she was seizing at every chance to change Bailey’s mind.” (O’Connor, 186) Immediately we are given evidence of a stubborn, will-bending woman. Her personality grows uglier as the story continues, she compares her daughter-in-law’s face to a cabbage, later she sneaks her cat in the car, lies about details of a house to have her way, and soon after even hides the fact that she has the family driving in the...


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...d has a true change of heart. She experiences what Jon Foreman calls “The beautiful letdown.” It’s clear to her in the end that grace is a gift to the undeserving, and it’s by the grace of Christ, not our works that we are saved and finally at peace. Flannery O’ Connor has written a stunning piece of literature. A Good Man is Hard to Find is a modern retelling of Paul of Tarsus. The Grandmother, like Paul is anyone of us, and her beautiful letdown is a moment we all desperately need to experience.



Works Cited

English Standard Version Bible. Crossway, 2007. YouVersion. LifeChurch.tv. Web. .
Foreman, Jon. "The Beautiful Letdown." The Beautiful Letdown. Switchfoot. John Fields, 2002. MP3.
O'Connor, Flannery. "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. By Robert DiYanni. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2004. Print.


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