Identifying Evil in Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find

Best Essays
Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, is tale about a grandmother who unknowingly steers her family to a fatal meeting with a fugitive. The chance encounter with the murderous fugitive ultimately costs the grandmother and her family their lives. Sticking with the Southern Gothic genre, O’Connor takes odd characters and mixes in dark encounters to produce a story packed full of hidden meanings and foreshadowing (Language and Literature, 2). At first glance, it seems easy to identify the character that represents evil in the story, the murderous outlaw. However, things are not always, what they seem; a closer look will reveal that the murder might not be the evilest character in the story.
The story opens with a portrayal of a family in their home discussing a planned road trip to Florida. The family consists of a married couple, their three children, and the husband’s mother, the children’s maternal grandmother. The grandmother, who is never named in the story, begins the story by attempting to convince her son, Bailey, that they should change the destination of their road trip to avoid running into a convict who had escaped. While this might seem reasonable, the grandmother’s intentions are self-serving and foreshadow events to come in the story. She makes a few remarks including,
"Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is aloose from the Federal Pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people. Just you read it. I wouldn't take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn't answer to my conscience if I did" (O’Connor, 1).
Her suggestion to change destinations is met with resistance from the rest of the family members; Bailey and ...

... middle of paper ...

...ognize. Sometimes what is truly evil is hidden under auspice of righteousness.

Works Cited

"Flannery O'connor." Language and Literature (10576037) 29.(2004): 1-27. Academic Search
Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.
Bethea, Arthur F. "O'connor's A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND." Explicator 64.4 (2006):
246-249. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.
Desmond, John. "Flannery O’Connor’s Misfit And The Mystery Of Evil." Renascence 56.2
(2004): 129-137. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.
Hendricks, T. W. "Flannery O'connor's "Spoiled Prophet." Modern Age 51.3/4 (2009): 202-210.
Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.
Nester, Nancy L. "O'connor's A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND." Explicator 64.2 (2006):
125-127. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.

O'Connor, Flannery. A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories. New York: Harcourt,
1955. Print.
Get Access