Character Analysis in "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

Flannery O’Connor wrote the story of ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ with its setting being Georgia in the mid 1940s. The story starts with a family packing and preparing for a road trip aimed at going towards Florida. Although the trip goes on well at the beginning, the family eventually encounters bad situations. For example, the audience comes to realize that the family’s car crashes along the road. During this unfortunate situation, three men arrive and murder the entire family without any motive.

In order to come up with a better understanding of the story developed by the author, it is of great importance to undertake a character analysis of how O’Connor designed the roles of every participant.

Character Analysis

The Grandmother

In the story under review, the author created the character of the grandmother as one whose major traits include being judgmental and selfish. For instance, the grandmother is constantly longing for a time when situations would improve.

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The reader of the story would easily identify this story when the grandmother is having a short conversation with Red Sammy Butts. At the same time, the grandmother is always critical of her son, Bailey, and his entire family. While this character always attempts to engage Bailey’s family, the same family is seen as showing little interest and respect. Furthermore, the grandmother becomes concerned about her safety when The Misfit approaches the Bailey’s family.

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However, the grandmother eventually performance a last action that is genuine at the end of the story, which is showing love and care to the Bailey’s family.

The Misfit

In the story, The Misfit is seen as significantly violent character who is also a convict that escaped from prison. At the same time, The Misfit is a man of several contradictions. Despite having a known bad reputation and backgrounds, the character blushes from all manners of embarrassment every time when Bailey uses unethical language. It is also imperative to note that as The Misfit instructs Hiram and Bobby Lee to drive the family into their killers, he makes a nonsensical apology about his not wearing a shirt. The Misfit also complements his father yet it is apparent that the latter is accused of killing his parents. The audience of the story also learns that The Misfit acknowledges having murdered his father even though he appears not to take a full responsibility. The escaped convict also compares himself to Jesus Christ whom he claims not to believe in. This argument paints a picture of a character that is not only violent but also of many contradictions.


In the story, Bailey is the grandmother’s son who is always seen as a frustrated character. To all other characters, including his children, Bailey says little. Since the Bailey does not want to find a way of withstanding the ‘whining’ of his children and other characters, he opts to agree into going to the plantation to do some gardening. It is also important to note that Bailey is a follower with no interest in coming up with an original thought. Furthermore, Bailey is unsuccessful in talking to The Misfit and his killer gang due to his frustration. However, the reader of the story would easily realize that Bailey shows interest in the grandmother only when he is being taken away while also hoping that things would change for the better. Bailey also loses hope when disaster strikes and is unable to save his family.

The Children’s Mother

Throughout the story, the children’s mother hardly speaks. The author of the story also does not give a name to the mother, an approach that is effective in signifying that the only purpose assigned to her is to take care of the children. Contrary to the roles assigned to the grandmother and Bailey, the children’s mother is a selfless character whose life revolves around the children. For instance, her concern is always about the baby. The children’s mother also chooses death upon realizing that her husband and the older son have been killed.

June Star

This character is a rude little girl who is not mindful about whatever she says to anyone. The conversations that June Star has with other characters such as the grandmother, The Misfit, and Red Sammy Butts’ wife are a testimony of the kind of rudeness in this character. June Star also does not respect her elders neither does she recognize the danger that lurks around before the murder. Just like her brother, June Star cheers the accident and eventually becomes disappointed when she realizes that there were no deaths caused by the car crash.

John Wesley

This character is a precocious young boy whose principal objective is to go on several adventures. Although Wesley is experiencing boredom, his excitement comes with the grandmother’s suggestion of visiting the plantation. Wesley is also interested in adults. At the same time, the character can be obnoxious as well as violent in the sense that he fights with June Star and can be seen kicking Bailey’s car seat.

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Character Analysis in "A Good Man is Hard to Find". (2021, Mar 06). Retrieved from

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