A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O'Connor


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A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O'Connor


In the short story, A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O'Connor, every object including the characters are symbols. The Grandmother, who is the one and only dynamic character, represents all of us who have repented. The story is, as Flannery O'Connor has suggested a spiritual journey because of the Grandmother's Plight. In the beginning of the story the Grandmother is obsessed with everything worldly and superficial. She cares far too much about how others perceive her,

"Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady" (O'Conner 138).

She gets dressed up for a car trip so that, on the off chance that they would be in a car wreck and that in that wreck she would be thrown from the car and laying on the pavement, she would be happy because the people passing would think that she is a lady. This represents us as humans because daily we choose to be way too self-conscience. Think about females and make-up. Make-up is a perfect example of us caring a great deal about what others think of us. She is also very selfish in her endeavors. Instead of caring about what is best for the family, she wants to go to Tennessee because she has friends there whom she would like to see.

There are three phases of thought for the Grandmother. During the first phase, which is in the beginning, she is completely focused on herself in relation to how others think of her. The Second Phase occurs when she is speaking to The Misfit. In the story, The Misfit represents a quasi-final judgment. He does this by acting like a mirror. He lets whatever The Grandmother says bounce right off him. He never really agrees with her or disagrees, and in the end he is the one who kills her. His second to last line, "She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life," (O'Conner 152). might be the way O'Conner felt about most of us alive, or how she felt that God must feel about us.

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The third, and final phase of The Grandmother is the moment of redemption. She finally sees The Misfit for who he really is, a person just like her. He is not someone who was made by his social class. He is a simple human being just like her. At this point she sees herself in relation to everyone else. She finally realizes that she is not made by her class. Society makes the class, and she just fits into it. She shows this by claiming that The Misfit could be one of her own beloved children.

The long time she spent in her life in Samsara (the Buddhist term for the eternal cycle of suffering), her time she spent reasoning with the final judger, and her redemption all add up to the spiritual plight that we all must take in life. We may not all be Christians, like Flannery O'Connor, but The Plight (or The Journey) of Spirituality applies to everyone. We all must take travel it. We all know it, and that makes this story universal.


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