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Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find Essay

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When one first begins to read A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor, one is assailed by the humorous petty grievances of a mother living under her son’s roof disrespected by her grandchildren and lonely in a house filled with people, clutching at memories of days long passed similar to the Tennessee Williams play, The Glass Menagerie. As the story unfolds one begins to see the indifference of Bailey toward his family in general and especially his mother—rightly so, as the ‘old lady’ nagged her son and his family to the point of hilarity and rib-hurtin’ laughter had the cat stayed in the bag and the car did not leave the road. This interesting story of a mentally abused woman slighted by her family, who makes the fatal error in judgment by smuggling a cat into the automobile resulting in the unforeseen horror delved upon them by the escaped convict, ‘Misfit’ and his cohorts culminating in a self-fulfilled prophecy—negative thoughts give naissance to deleterious actions.
In 1955, when Ms. O’Connor penned this story the citizenry of the United States were experiencing the euphoric high of peace time following World War II and the Korean War, prosperity abounded and work-a-day folks were learning to experience vacations and weekend getaways—life was wonderful and beautiful. No one was desirous to be informed of the ugly truth dwelling beneath the thin eggshells of human existence—blinded by consumerism; folks did not want to be reminded of the viciousness rooted deep in the souls of some people epitomized by “Misfit” in this tale from the brilliant imagination of Ms. O’Connor. The ‘old lady’ portrayed in A Good Man is Hard to Find unknowingly spelled out their demise with a self-fulfilling prophecy as she stated: “Here...


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What if? What if, this family had followed grandmother’s desire to visit Tennessee? What if, The Misfit had not escaped federal detention? What if, Pitty Sing had not been smuggled aboard the car? What if, Bailey had stopped the car and busted his children’s arses? What if, Bailey had not given into the desires of his mother and his children? One could ask, what if, Ms. O’Connor had written a more pleasant ending to her story? What if, this story was not chosen to be included in this anthology?
Ms. Flannery O’Connor stated a message in her story—“Live like there is no tomorrow!” Anything can happen—even to good hard working Americans.



Works Cited

O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find. Schilb, John and Clifford, John. Making Literature Matter, an Anthology for Readers and Writers. Fifth Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2012. Print. Pages 1283-1296.


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