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A Good Man Is Hard To Find Character Analysis

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In Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, characters such as the Grandmother and the Misfit help to illuminate issues on both a personal and societal level. O’Connor crafts two characters that almost become symbols for the greater issues they have; their personal problems can be applied to a larger scale. The conversation between the Misfit and Grandmother in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” attempts to tackle deep questions of morality, what a “good man” actually is, and the idea of divine right or justice among others. O’Connor’s characterization of the Grandmother serves to create conflicting ideas of what a “good man” is. The Grandmother constantly talks about the past and how in her time people could leave their “screen door unlatched.…show more content…
Despite the Grandmother’s earlier preaching about the horrid character of the Misfit, when put in a back-to-the-wall situation she says, “I know you’re a good man”. The Grandmother’s strong concept of morality goes out the window when she is in a precarious situation. This is not unjustified, as she simply wants to make it out of the situation alive, yet it calls into question her character and the strength of her convictions. It also makes the readers themselves question their own morality; what would they do in a similar situation? The reader can feel sympathy for the Grandmother in this dangerous situation, yet it is her actions as the conversation progresses that cause the reader to pause and truly question the character of the Grandmother. The Misfit’s assistants systematically kill her family, as they are taken into the woods and shot. Throughout this time, the Grandmother seems to only be focused on self-preservation, with her only recognition of something awry being two isolated yells of “Bailey Boy!” O’Connor is showing the character of not just the Grandmother, but what she perceives to be the common trend in 1950’s culture. The idea of family unity and selflessness, even by those who propagate the idea, is forgotten when the individual is…show more content…
While this sounds good in theory, the Grandmother once again is simply trying to save herself by any means, and appealing to a possible religious background would seriously aid her chances. The Misfit, on the other hand, is not religious at all, as he says “Jesus thrown everything off balance. It was the same case with Him as with me…” The Misfit has a more serious view of religion that gives off an existential vibe; there is no purpose to life and without divine consequence there is no clear right and wrong. O’Connor is making a statement on not just the character of the Misfit and Grandmother, but rather the society she was living in as a whole. Religion throughout history has always been a contentious subject, and the idea of “real” religious people is still debated today. By making the Misfit seem to have actually considered religion in a more meaningful way than the church-going Grandmother, O’Connor is taking a definitive stance in saying that sometimes the less religious have put more thought into their stance than the religious
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