A good man is hard to find
The short story by Flannery O’Connor is a polarizing novel, which makes the reader contemplate the good and evil in the world and relationships with relatives, amongst other issues within the society. The book published in 1955 mixes caustic comedy, religious fervor and violence. The grandmother’s character, a key element in the story, has traits that ought to be meticulously analyzed as a way of exploring and investigating this precise role in the story. The grandmother, a major character in the short story, has the character of a pitiable victim of circumstance beyond her control. The selfish and ignorant nature of the grandmother in the story led to the misfortunes of the family and, ultimately, the demise of all members.
The grandmother is the key character in the story, which is set in rural environment in the Southern part of the US, Georgia. It is at this location that the grandmother told Wesley about the need to respect people who are from the native side. Her family desires to go on vacation to Florida. Conversely, the grandmother is of a conflicting view, where she claims that in the state there is a convict, who had escaped prison. According to her, “she couldn’t answer to her conscience if she took the children in a direction where there was a convict on the loose (O’Connor, 2016).” According to Akbar & Khadim (2017), this point shows her selfish nature, where she only cares about her happiness without considering other person feelings and wishes. She pretends to want what is best for the family before going on vacation, where, unfortunately, her main concern is her happiness and fulfilling her curiosities and wishes (Zhao, 2017). The family is not convinced and wants her to remain home, where on the other hand, she opposed d to such arrangements. The family is not convinced; instead, they insist that she stays home. They know she does not want to be left behind.
From the commencement of the story, the grandmother is at odds with the family members. According to Zhao (2017), in most family cases, grandmothers are considered to be very loving, whereas in her case on the contrary, she seems to be very obstinate. She also appears to be very vain by elaborately dressing for the trip (O’Connor, 2016). Her opposition to the tour does not augur well with even her grandchildren, which is quite contradictory to the role of a grandmother in most family setups. As the main protagonist, she appears to be pretentious, sensitive, manipulative, and self-serving.
Despite her behaviors, she is still the main character, where the author comprehensively analyzes her behavior. She provides the theme of the story from the start to the end, where she is finally shot after this ex-convict kills everyone. She is portrays the selfish trait, where she was the person behind the suggestion that insisted the family members could visit the Old Mansion located near Toombsboro (O’Connor, 2016). The decision led to her family getting an accident after taking a U-turn for the dirt road heading to a plantation. Her character is also evident, where she audaciously had to lie to all her family members despite knowing the truth, to get them to agree with her ideas. The lies include lying that she had hidden silvers and secret panels.
Nevertheless, despite her evil character, the grandmother has several positive aspects, as depicted by the story. According to Carothers (2019), she is very knowledgeable, where she is conversant with the happenings in her city and is aware of the story of the convict who is on the run. She is also well-informed about various towns and roads, which could be a result of her old age and experiences (Zhao, 2017). The grandmother is also an intelligent go-getter who can get whatever she wants; even though, in most cases, she tends to self-centered without caring about even her family members. She manages to convince her family members to take the vacation with her, through dressing well earlier and leaving them with no choice. Carothers (2019), states that the grandmother was also able to convince them on the roads to use, and her false hidden treasures which cost them their lives at the end of the story. This shows that despite her negative elements portrayed by the author, grandmother also has some positivity, which unfortunately she uses to her advantage, with an aim of harming others.
Her naivety can be depicted through her actions. She brings her cat along in the car despite her son’s wishes (O’Connor, 2016). The entire family is dressed in a casual manner, where she decides to defy them by wearing fancy clothes, including a fancy hat, which will make her get noticed as a proper lady in the vent she gets in an accident. Through such actions, she proves that she cares about people perceive her as compared to how she treats people. She is also detrimental in that she anticipates an accident, when she is with her family, ready to go for a vacation. When speaking to Red Sam, she talks about the past and how things used to be better and more straightforward (O’Connor, 2016). However, in the event she is faced with death by the Misfit, she is not prepared to face her mortality. She is unable to believe that the Misfit can be as amoral as he appears to be, where he insists that he must be good at heart. According to Akbar & Khadim, (2017), despite her knowing that the family members have been killed, she continues to be reveal her selfish nature, with an aim of saving herself. She at no given point realize that these are her last seconds until she desperately begs the Misfit to spare her, claiming that he is her son.
There are flaws in the character of the story, mostly in the grandmother’s characteristics. The Misfit does not care about anyone, which is directly opposite of what the lady expected (O’Connor, 2016). From the role of the grandmother, it is apparent that the grandmother is of a round character. She continually has different personalities, though, in most events, she tends to have negative characteristics of loving herself, and failing to care about others. The lady is aloes a dynamic character since her story has many different personalities, which in separate cases, tends to behave differently. She is also a protagonist in that she is the main character where her story is told in perspective.
The grandmother is very deceiving and egocentric, where she lives in the past. From her behaviors, it is evident that she does not value her life as it is, and seems to look for something to fulfill her life (Akbar & Khadim, 2017). However, instead of admitting this, she goes ahead to glorify her past, where she viewed her life through rose-colored glasses. The author presents her as a proper lady who dresses to impress and attract all her attention (Carothers, 2019). She does whatever she wills and never at any point, let anyone stand her way. Her manipulation tendencies can be blamed for all the woes that the family went through, leading to their death.
The selfish and ignorant nature of the grandmother in the story led to the misfortunes of the family and, ultimately, the demise of all members. She manipulates everyone, including the children, since she is able to easily persuade them. This is the creation of a mysterious story, which she is not sure about. She stresses cunningly about the secret location knowing that it is a lie. In most of the events narrated, the lady has a way of stretching the truth as much as possible, by lying to both her family and herself. She, however, is a go-getter and knowledgeable about information. Nevertheless, her evil and selfish character at the end, leads to the demise of each member of the family.
Akbar, N. A., & Khadim, R. J. (2017). Irony in The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe and “A Good Man is Hard to Find by Mary Flannery O’Connor. Basic Education College Magazine For Educational and Humanities Sciences, (. 33), 567-578.
Carothers, T. (2019). A Good Democracy Is Hard to Find: Why Progress Takes So Long and Falls Apart So Easily. Foreign Aff. 98, 170.
Gartner, W. B. (2019). A good man is hard to find: project management, entrepreneurship and serendipity. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business.
O’Connor, F. (2016). A good man is hard to find. . Faber & Faber.
Zhao, Y. (2017). The Absurd Theme in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”.
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