“A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor Essay
“A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor
The title ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’ gives you the impression that someone is looking for a partner. When in reality, the title is actually explaining the moral of the story. Every character has their bad points, even the seemingly innocent children. From the Misfits, to the entire family, everyone was disrespectful and just plain rude. In some families it would be considered a mortal sin to be rude to elders. Unfortunately this family seems to get a kick out of being cruel to their poor grandmother. The Misfits are a different story entirely, because they know nothing better than cruelty. The Grandmother wasn’t perfect herself, but she did have it a little rough.
Starting things off the Grandmother was the most mistreated elder I have ever seen. Even despite the fact most of the stuff that came out of her mouth was false or an elaboration. She was an un-trusted old lady whose family couldn’t wait to get rid of her. Someone whose words were constantly falling on deaf ears would get dramatic for attention, which is precisely what Grandmother did. This woman would stretch stories for her own benefit, which led to the family’s untimely death. Constantly fighting for her way, she felt it necessary to hide the cat in a basket.
This also explains lying about the secret panel, which was enough to amuse the children. If she didn’t have clever ways to get her thoughts across, she would be completely ignored. The parents have been setting the wrong example for their children by disrespecting Grandmother. When the car flipped the Grandmother feared her son’s hostility. She was immediately guilt ridden and made herself look as vulnerable as possible. Her family had every right to be upset with her and she knew it.
The family, used to hearing her ridiculous stories and demands, has grown accustom to ignoring her. They make it obvious that she’s not wanted in the family. Even the children are rude and disrespectful, obviously following the example of their parents. Her son glares at her for making pleasant conversation, and his wife doesn’t allow her to listen to the music she chooses. Her own granddaughter was filled with contempt when she found out that Grandmother had indeed survived the car wreck. So fits the title that “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, you can’t find one in this story. Now with the entire family burning holes on poor Grandmother with their eyes, you don’t think it could get any worse for her.
Here arrive the Misfits. This appears to be a homely bunch of rejects or rebels, knowing nothing more than raising hell. They ride up carrying their guns, making the family realize their predicament just got a whole lot worse. The Grandmother recognizes them at once and begins to beg for mercy. All the while, they’re killing her unloving family off one by one. The old lady is persistent and continues encouraging the Misfit to pray, and become a good man. They converse for a while, and he begins to explain why he’s up to no good.
He opens up to her, and she realizes he just doesn’t know any better. Grandmother is obviously distraught but she keeps at him. There is finally a glimmer of hope in the man’s face, he apparently wishes for a better life. When Grandmother reaches out to comfort him, to pull that good man out of him, BAM! He retaliates to her kindness with a wave of bullets.
“She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life”. This man only knows how to kill kindness. He is simply stating what would have given them pleasure. The very next thing he says “Its no real pleasure in life.” This statement proves that he learned something from that old woman. He realizes what they’ve been killing all along. So her death wasn’t meaningless she finally got her point across to someone, someone finally listened to what she had to say, and was actually affected by it. So she died a happy woman, with a nice smile on her face, killed by her own kindness.