Analysis of “A Good Man is Hard to Find”

“She would have been a good woman if there had been someone to shoot her every minute of her life”. This quote was spoken by the misfit at the end of a short story by Flannery O'Connor called “A Good man is Hard to find”. Why did the misfit feel the grandmother would have been a good woman had someone always been there to shoot her anytime she opened her mouth? The grandmother was not as good as she made herself to be.

At the beginning of the story the grandmother does not want to go to Florida, she instead wants to visit Tennessee. She tries to bribe Bailey to go to Tennessee by showing him the news article of the misfit and two other men who escaped from prison. At this moment you would think that she is just thinking of her children and grandchildren and their safety. As the six of them load up though, she hides their cat in her luggage because she knew that Bailey would be upset if he knew.

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This is the first lie that she has told that shows the type of woman she is. The grandmother has dressed in nice clothes and said that she is dressed this way in case of an accident they would know she is a lady. The grandmother has already thought of there being an accident, but her only concern is that the people who find her, know that she is a lady.

On the way to Florida the two older children were reading comic books and then had their lunches.

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The grandmother decides to tell stories as they are driving along. One of her stories was about a man she dated who would leave her watermelons every week with his initials, E.A.T. carved in it. She tells how one week there was no watermelon because a negro kid came and saw the initials and ate it. June Star did not find this amusing and said that she would not have married a man who only brought her watermelons. The grandmother replied with how she would have done well to marry him because he died a wealthy man. This statement about how she would have done well to marry a wealthy man is another reason where you can see that the grandmother was focused on the wrong things in life. She was more concerned about the amount of wealth she could have had and not the type of person the man was.

As they continued to drive they stopped at The Tower owned by Red Sammy. Inside there was a long counter with tables at the end and a dance floor. Red Sammy’s wife took their orders and they sat down. Sammy was outside under a vehicle at the time. The mother played some music and June Star asked her to play something she could tap to. Sammy’s wife said that June Star was the cutest thing and asked did she want to come be her daughter. June Star said no and that she would never live in a place like this. Sammy came in and told his wife to stop lounging and get them their order. The grandmother and Red Sam talk about the old days and how no one is good anymore. Red Sam says you don’t know who to trust and that he let two fellers charge gas because they said they worked at the mill and questioned why he did that. The grandmother replied with “because you’re a good man”. Although Red Sammy was rude to his wife multiple times by ordering her to get things for the family, the grandmother clicked with him and his ways. They had a lot in common.

As the family continues on their trip just outside of Toombsboro she remembers an old plantation and just what road to turn off of to get there. She wanted to go there again so she could see if the little twin arbors where still standing. She knew that the children nor Bailey would want to stop so she lies to the children telling them that there is a hidden panel where all of the family’s silver was hidden and had never been found. The only reason she lied and told them there was a hidden panel was to get the children’s attention, especially John Wesley who wanted to find the hidden silver.

Bailey decides to turn around and go back up to the road that the grandmother said to turn on. As they are going down the road it hits the grandmother that the plantation was in fact in Tennessee and not where they were headed. As the grandmother becomes more and more nervous over the lie she is telling she kicks over her luggage and the cat jumps out and onto Bailey causing them to wreck. The grandmother decides not to tell the family of her lie. As the family waits for someone to come for help a black hearse like vehicle pulls up with three men in it. The grandmother seems to recognize on of them and finally it hits her that he is the misfit. The misfit sends Bailey and John Wesley off with one of his men and two gun shots are hears. Then he sends the mother the baby and June star off and three gun shots are heard. Meanwhile the grandmother is begging the misfit to pray, and she seems to have forgotten how to even pray herself. The misfit tells her that even those that have not committed a crime still face punishment as Jesus did. The grandmother continues to cry out “you won’t shoot a lady”. The misfit is not deterred by the grandmothers pleads to pray. The grandmother reaches out to him and says “why you’re one of my babies, you’re one of my own children”, the misfit sprang back and shot her three times in the chest.

Was the misfit one of the grandmother’s children? Was she yet again keeping another secret like the ones before from her family? The grandmother seemed to hide a lot of things from her children and grandchildren and her morals were not what she made one believe. Her values were not that of a good woman and the misfit could see this. She was embarrassed of her grandchildren’s behaviors, but she was quick to talk about plantation time as if it were a better time. The grandmother tried to convince the misfit that she knew he was a good man and that he would not shoot a lady, but her begging him to pray had the opposite effect of what she had hoped, and the misfit committed cold murder of all six family members.


Updated: Dec 12, 2023
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Analysis of “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. (2021, Mar 06). Retrieved from

Analysis of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” essay
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