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Good And Evil Are Bedfellows in Flannery O’Connor A Good Man is Hard to Find

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The Flannery O’Connor story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” illustrates a parallel between the Misfit and the grandmother, showing that good and evil are not mutually exclusive in an individual. The grandmother and the Misfit display a flowing, changing state of character, representative of this shift. Flannery O’Connor develops these two characters on the surface as simply being a good person and a bad person. However, there is more to each character than the surface level, as they exhibit traits that wouldn’t ordinarily seem fitting in regards to what would be expected. It is this complexity in human characteristics that O’Connor takes the time to develop and show the audience the depth of humanity.

William Burke defines the bond between the Misfit and the grandmother by observing a “shared moral principle” (99). This moral principle is the belief that they deem themselves a good person, though, for entirely different reasons. As the family begins its trip, despite her initial objections, the grandmother is content with the ride (O’Connor 203). Her agreeable nature portrays her as being a kind old woman and therefore the good person she strives to be. Despite his criminal history, the Misfit is introduced as a considerate motorist, stopping to help the injured family and their damaged vehicle (208). Considering his reputation, had he truly been a man of evil, the family would have been in immediate danger, as opposed to just the point from when the grandmother recognized him. Upon the realization that the Misfit may, in fact, be no different than one of her own children, her subsequent murder reveals the Misfit’s own regrets about his misdeeds (O’Connor 212).

On the other hand, the grandmother and the Misfit both “act...

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...s in mind “A Good Man Is Hard to Come By” because a solely good man is a rarity among individuals. Regardless of the role the person may have in society, a grandmother or a criminal, perhaps, there are more intricate blends in a personality than just good or evil.

Works Cited

Burke, William. "Protagonists and antagonists in the fiction of Flannery O'Connor." The Southern Literary Journal 20 (1988): 99.

Evans, R. (1997, January). A good man is hard to find. Short Fiction: A Critical Companion, Retrieved November 23, 2008, from Literary Reference Center database.

Kane, Richard. "Positive deconstruction in the fiction of Flannery O'Connor." The Southern Literary Journal 20 (1987): 45.

O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. 6th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2007. 202-212.
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