Manipulation and Deception in A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

Manipulation and Deception in A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

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Lessons are learned through mistakes and experiences, but to completely understand the lesson, a person must be smart enough to profit from their errors and be strong enough to correct them. However, this was not the case for the main character in the short story; A Good Man is Hard to Find written by Flannery O’Connor. In this tale of manipulation and deception, O’Connor depicts the main character, the grandmother, as a shrewd self-centered woman, who considers herself morally superior than the other individuals. Throughout the entire story, she is seen using her manipulative tactics on everyone, which brought her to a sinister ending. O’Connor expertly portrayed the grandmother as a character that did not correct her negative characteristics throughout the story. To prove this statement, the use of time will be applied to help focus on the main idea of the grandmother not changing her deleterious ways throughout this story.
Since the beginning of the story, the readers have come to known the grandmother as a spiteful old lady due to her repulsive and deceitful attitudes toward others. Right from the start, we can see the grandmother using her manipulative tactics on her family. “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.” (O’Connor 1) This initial quote shows an early indication that the grandmother is determined to obtain whatever she wants and will not allow anything to get in her way, even if it means manipulating her own family. This line already suggests that the grandmother may have sly motives concealed in her mind. “Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is a loose from the Federal Pen a...


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...person. When these two counterexamples are dissected further, many flaws begin to surface and can be easily viewed differently. In the case of “Bailey Boy”, it can be observed as another sly tactic used to gain more sympathy towards the grandmother. Even at the end when it looked like she was showing compassion towards the Misfit, it can be perceived as her last desperate attempt to save her own life. This was highly plausible since in the beginning of the paragraph, the grandmother noticed that the Misfit had a sensitive spot towards religion, which she could have used against him in order to set herself free. However, her attempt to “comfort” the criminal backfired and led her to her death. These theories can all be debated depending on your outlook of the story, which would really decide whether the grandmother was being sincere or frolicking with the devil.

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