Good Man Is Hard To Find
The story of "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O’Connor has been
debated and analyzed so much because it can be interpreted one thousand
different ways. O’Connor’s characters are usually searching for an elusive
salvation, and her stories illustrate her views on the human condition. Many
spiritual themes weave their way through her work, but never seem to achieve
their intended ends. In this story, groups of criminals massacre an entire
family while their ringleader discusses theology with the family\'s grandmother,
only a hundred feet away. The source of the misinterpretation of the story’s
crux emerges from two key characters that O’Connor weaved together: the

Grandmother, and the Misfit. These two are so complex because they stand for
many different things. The most reasonable interpretation of these two
characters is that they represent O’Connor’s view on the evil in society.

The story begins with the typical family challenged by their grandmother who
does not want to take the vacation to Florida. She has read about a crazed
killer by the name of the Misfit who is on the run heading for Florida.

Unfortunately, she is ignored by ever member of the family except for the little
girl June Star who has come to read her grandmother like a book. Ironically, the
morning of the trip the grandmother is dressed in her best Sunday clothes and
the first one in the car ready to travel as June Star predicted she would be.

The grandmother\'s dress is very nice for a trip she was horrified to take only a
day earlier. The grandmother festooned in white gloves, a navy blue dress, and a
matching hat, only for the sole purpose of being recognized as a woman in case
someone saw her dead on the highway. This logic may seem absurd to anyone who is
unfamiliar with aged aristocratic southern culture. Southerners of a high class
would dress in their fine clothes when they traveled on vacations, especially
ladies. The reader is clued into the grandmother\'s shallow thoughts of death. In
the grandmother\'s mind, her clothing preparations prevent any doubts about her
status as a fine lady. However, the Misfit later points out, "There never was
a body that gave the undertaker a tip." The grandmother\'s superficial
readiness for death is a bleak characteristic and revealed when she encounters
the Misfit. She shows herself to be the least prepared for death when she is
left alone with him. As the trip progresses, the children reveal themselves as
brats, mainly out of O\'Connor\'s desire to illustrate the lost admiration for the
family’s respect for their grandmother. The family lost their respect for
their grandmother only because she proposed a different life style. She was part
of a Southern aristocratic culture where people behaved much more
conservatively. Her beliefs, attitudes, and morals were from another time where
people respected what older people had to say, and what they stood for.

Naturally, she was never reluctant to share her opinion on matters, and was a
little forceful about sharing her thoughts. She made sure to watch over her son,
and kept a grip on what he did- even as a grown man. She refused to retire and
become a composed old woman. She wanted to stay involved in the family’s
matters, and show that she was still an significant person with the knowledge
that came with her age. Consequently, with all her bickering the family began to
hold a grudge against her. The Grandmother lacked comprehension, and did not
know that she became annoying, but she was not spitefully bothersome. The reader
should notice when the family passes by a cotton field, five or six graves are
exposed, and conceivably, they foreshadow the near future. Some interesting
dialogue takes place when John Wesley asks, "Where\'s the plantation," and
the grandmother replies, "Gone with the Wind." This is perhaps another
attempt by O\'Connor to illustrate the breakdown of the family’s absence of
respect and reverence for the grandmothers’ old life. The family \'s encounter
with Red Sammy Butts serves as another outlet for O\'Connor to express how trust
and respect have begun to wear away. The reader should note the name of the town
"Toombsboro" which the family passes through. The grandmother makes
the mistake of telling the children about a house with secret panels that is
nearby and immediately the children start screaming about it until Bailey
concedes to visit the house. However, the cat moves causing Pitty Sing to lurch
on Bailey\'s shoulder resulting in the