Essay on An Analysis Of Flannery O ' Connor 's A Good Man

Essay on An Analysis Of Flannery O ' Connor 's A Good Man

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Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” discusses the definition of goodness within a few complicated characters. However, morality and human compassion seem to have very little to do with the definition of “good,” according to the key characters in the short story, least of all the grandmother. At first, the grandmother seems to be a caring and concerned mother and grandmother, begging her son to travel in the opposite direction from where a murderer has been rumored to be traveling. It becomes apparent later in the story that she is mostly concerned for herself and cares very little for the well being of anyone else. Her actions and beliefs call into question the meaning of decency and goodness. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the unnamed grandmother’s moral contradictions prove that although she thinks she is better than everyone else, her dishonest and manipulative tendencies prove she is worse than the Misfit himself.
In an effort to seem better than others, the grandmother tries to describe herself as a “lady.” She does this in the beginning of the story by dressing up in her finest clothing to ride in the car on a family vacation to Florida. The excerpt says, “The old lady settled herself comfortably, removing her white cotton gloves and putting them up with her purse on the shelf in front of the back window… 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’Connor, 3). The grandmother assumes that her clothing will signal to others that she is a lady. She proves herself condescending when she speaks of African Ame...


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...ting to appear virtuous, the grandmother wears fine clothing and speaks the name of Jesus. All the while, there is no sincerity within her. She uses deceit and manipulation like war tactics to save herself, while not once pleading for her family members’ lives. The very faith she attempts to thrust upon the Misfit seems to have no real effect on her own actions. If one truly wants to live a life worthy to be called “good,” the Biblical definition provides a simple and concrete instruction: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Man is born imperfect and flawed, with the tendency to fail. Who can be called good? Redemption can only be found in repentance and a constant desire for fellowship with Almighty God. A good grandmother would always know that.

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