The Grandmother in A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor

The Grandmother in A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor

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The Grandmother in A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor


The grandmother is the central character in the story "A good man is hard to find," by Flannery O'Connor. The grandmother is a manipulative, deceitful, and self-serving woman who lives in the past. She doesn't value her life as it is, but glorifies what it was like long ago when she saw life through rose-colored glasses. She is pre-scented by O'Connor as being a prim and proper lady dressed in a suit, hat, and white cotton gloves. This woman will do whatever it takes to get what she wants and she doesn't let anyone else's feelings stand in her way. She tries to justify her demands by convincing herself and her family that her way is not only the best way, but the only way. The grandmother is determined to change her family's vacation destination as she tries to manipulate her son into going to Tennessee instead of Florida. The grandmother says that "she couldn't answer to her conscience if she took the children in a direction where there was a convict on the loose." The children, they tell her "stay at home if you don't want to go." The grandmother then decides that she will have to go along after all, but she is already working on her own agenda. The grandmother is very deceitful, and she manages to sneak the cat in the car with her. She decides that she would like to visit an old plantation and begins her pursuit of convincing Bailey to agree to it. She describes the old house for the children adding mysterious details to pique their curiosity. "There was a secret panel in this house," she states cunningly knowing it is a lie. The grandmother always stretches the truth as much as possible. She not only lies to her family, but to herself as well. The grandmother doesn't live in the present, but in the past. She dresses in a suit to go on vacation. She states, "in case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady." She constantly tries to tell everyone what they should or should not do. She informs the children that they do not have good manners and that "children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else." when she was a child.

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She fits the description of an older southern lady who is a bit prejudiced when referring to the African-American race; She said, "Oh look at the cute little picka-ninny!" She speaks of how she could have married Mr. Teagarden; a successful and wealthy businessman. The grandmother always speaks as though she is missing something more by being whom she really is. She enjoys listening to old songs like "The Tennessee Waltz." These thing remind her of the things she believes are more important, even more so than her own family. The grandmother blames other people for negative events that she has experienced throughout her entire life. The grandmother remains self-serving throughout the story. Her reasons for not wanting to go to Florida are purely selfish, even though she pretends that it is to ensure the children's safety. When the grandmother meets up with the Misfit, she tries to use the same techniques on him that she practices on her family. She does not resign herself to death yet, not even when she hears the gunshots coming from the wooded area. She states "Jesus, you've got good blood, I know you wouldn't shoot a lady!" The grandmother's only son, and his entire family are dead and she remains absorbed in her own fear, oblivious to what is going on around her. The grandmother does not change until mere seconds before her life is over, and her head clears for an instant. After she realizes the Misfit is going to kill her, she tries to manipulate for the final time telling the Misfit, "Why you're one of my babies. You're one of my own children!" The grandmother's life ends at this time and she never realized that she held everything dear to her at home. O'Connor leaves the reader to believe that maybe the grandmother wouldn't have changed regardless, and her head clearing for an instant could be interpreted as she knew she was going to die and was trying to think clearly long enough to save her own life.
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