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The Misfit and the Grandmother in Flannery O’ Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

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“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. Born as an only child into a Catholic family, O’ Conner is one of the most “greatest fiction writers and one of the strongest apologists for Roman Catholicism in the twentieth century (New Georgia Encyclopedia).” She was a very strong believer in her faith and she used her stories as a tool to send the reader a message that were most likely ignored and almost never uttered out loud. The story revolves around a grandmother who believes to be high and mighty around others. This results in her downfall later on.

“A Good man is hard to find,” is about a family who decide to go on a trip to Florida. The story revolves around a self absorbed grandmother who loves to talk about how everything used to be back in her day and takes the time to dress herself so that “In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady (358).” She sneaks the family cat with her despite her son’s disapproval of bringing the creature along violating her boundaries to how a lady would act. The family encounters an accident along the way and happens to come across ‘The Misfit,’ a runaway criminal. Using ‘The Misfit’ as a tool, O’ Connor sends a message to her readers of how hypocritical a person can be when it comes to belief.

The granny and the misfit are two completely opposite characters that possess two different beliefs. The grandmother puts herself on a high pedestal and the way she calls the misfit ‘a good person’ based upon his family background gives the reader an idea of what the grandmother acknowledges to be considered as ‘good’. Self absorbed as sh...


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...d both of them do not quite understand what being saved actually means. In the end, “when she saw the man’s face twisted close to her own (367).” the grandmother realizes that she and The Misfit are both on the same level and she is no worse than the latter. Almost like taking a look into a mirror and pondering upon one’s own reflection. The story takes a quick pause, when the author writes the line, “His voice seemed to crack and the grandmother’s head cleared for an instance (367).” What were the thoughts that went through the grandmother’s head? What happened during the “instance” that changed the grandmother’s view on her beliefs? The sole purpose of the phrase drowns a reader with questions and uncertainty. The story makes a final closure with The Misfit’s remark on how his source of happiness by performing violent acts brings “no real pleasure in life.”





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