Imperfection and Faith in A Good Man is Hard to Find and Good Country People

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Knowing Flannery O’Connor’s religious conviction, one cannot overlook this underlying tone in both of her regarded stories “A Good Man is hard to Find” and “Good Country People”. It is often said of those who stand outside of religious conviction that faith seems to come in handy to people only when it is valuable to get them out of a predicament, of which they have likely placed themselves through insensitive behavior and decisions. In such a desperate attempt to appeal to faith, one only finds emptiness and a fate that leaves them hopeless or even dead. O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and “Good Country People” illustrate that the inability to see the flaws in one’s self lead to substantial consequences, where an appeal to faith is by then too late.
In “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the grandmother is far from an exemplary matriarch, seeming to find room for selfishness in every word and action. From the first sentence, “The Grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida”, the reader sees that it is the grandmother who places her wishes above that of her family and anyone else. Her closest attempt at genuine concern for those other than herself is as she tells Bailey of the Misfit, which serves to subtly indicate the doom to come for the family. However, even in warning her son about the news story, she uses it to inject doubt into him, knowing that she could use it to persuade him to take them to Tennessee instead, and commenting that if she were to place her family in harm’s way she “couldn’t answer to [her] consciousness if [she] did” (9). Bailey unfortunately does not heed such warning, and the grandmother’s selfishness continues; knowing that Bailey did not want to bring the cat, Pitty Sing, on the trip, she hides it under...

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...ntry People” both exemplify the belief that without faith, one cannot truly change; for they must know whose they are before they seek to change who they are. Joy-Hulga believed in nothing, and therefore could feel nothing, see nothing, and be nothing. The grandmother, caught up in the nostalgia of what used to be forgot that she was responsible for what now was, and her self-serving nature hindered her from reaching others. O’Connor’s stories convey that while mercy is freely given and not deserved, if one continues to resist the commandments of God, they place themselves at the edge of a bottomless pit.

Works Cited

O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories.” Orlando: Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich, 1955. Print.

Oliver, Kate. "O'connor's GOOD COUNTRY PEOPLE." Explicator 62.4 (2004): 233-236.
Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

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