A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Powerful Essays
In the short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, written by Flannery O’Connor, the theme of the mysterious definition of a “good man” is apparent. The true definition of a ‘good man’ is flawed, but one must also realize that it is difficult to universalize simply because every person is entitled to their own opinion. O’Connor conveys this theme through her excellent use of diction, imagery, foreshadowing, and symbolism as well as through a creative use of repetition and an omniscient point of view.

The grandmother, the main character of the story, is manipulative, and in a sense, the definition of a ‘good man’ is referring to her belief of what characteristics a ‘good man’ possesses. From the beginning, the reader is given the indication that the grandmother is determined to get what she wants and will do whatever she can to do so. And, from the second line of the story, O’Connor suggests that anything the grandmother says might have an alternative motive. “The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida. She wanted to visit some of her connections in east Tennessee and she was seizing at every chance to change Bailey’s mind” (1284). When the grandmother mentions that she doesn’t want to go to Florida, her son Bailey assumes it’s because of the Misfit killer who has escaped from prison. However, in actuality, she wanted to visit other family and friends in Tennessee.

Throughout the story, O’Connor uses creative words and phrases as well as figurative language to help keep the reader engaged. For example, when the family is driving, O’Connor makes it a point to thoroughly describe the area, which they are passing through. “She [the grandmother] pointed out interesting details of the scenery: Stone Mountain, the blue granite that i...

... middle of paper ...

...he narrator is the grandmother, a manipulative woman who is selfish and interested in only acquiring her needs.

In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, O’Connor gives brilliant support to the theme, even going so far as stating it in the title itself. Through her creative details and intentional use of rhetoric, O’Connor strengthens the idea that the true definition of a ‘good man’ is skewed and difficult to pinpoint. Defining a ‘good man’ varies because it is individualized from reader to reader and a generic definition cannot be composed. This gothic piece of literature is realistic, and through its theme, the reader is exposed to the flaws of society as a whole.

Works Cited

O'Connor, Flannery. "A Good Man Is Hard To Find." 1955. Making Literature Matter:

An Anthology For Readers and Writers. 5th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2012. 1283-296. Print.
Get Access