A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor is a short narrative that depicts a distinction between violent actions with amusingly selected characters as well as a viewpoint that underscores the author’s Catholic faith. The narrative provides a pessimistic representation of human ethics. Among the notable characters are The Misfit and the grandmother. The two characters are regarded as heroes though in diverse perspectives. Nonetheless, they turn out to represent significant similarities as the story advances.
The grandmother’s first encounter with the Misfit demonstrates that she had known him. This reference affirms that the two characters have similarities and perhaps the Misfit in some way represents the grandmother. It may have been that if she were not religious, she would have turned out exactly like him. Both the Misfit and the grandmother are self-centered and lack life values (Mohamad 348). Whereas the Misfit appears in the latter parts of the account, his presence is felt from the commencement of the narrative while the grandmother tells of his son who became a criminal. The grandmother is more concerned about appearing as a lady and that there should be good men. The initial association with the grandmother is that of kindness and humility; however, the narrator appears to betray her character when she reveals her hypocritical nature. She considers herself morally superior to the rest and regularly criticizes others. For instance, she is racist from her remarks, such as “nigger boy” and “cute little pickaninny.” Besides, she demeans other individuals including her daughter in law when she asserts that she wears slacks. She further criticizes her for not traveling to areas that would allow the children to become more exposed. She reprimands John Wesley for not respecting Georgia, his home. She points out the lack of goodness among individuals in the current world. During all this, she conceitedly dresses in her carefully selected hat and dress, convinced that being a lady is the essential virtue of all.
When the Misfit murders the family, the grandmother never pleads him to spare any of them. Though, she does plead for her life because she can’t envision the Misfit wanting to murder a lady. She appears certain that he’ll distinguish her ethical code, and that it would sway him from his criminal ways. She persuades him by convincing him that he is a good man, but although he consents to her assessment of him, he refuses to spare her. It is only when the grandmother is almost dying, that she realizes her iniquities. She recognizes that she is not superior to others since she has flaws like everybody else.
Similarly, the Misfit is also self-centered and lacks life values as evidenced in his criminal behaviors. It seems that he has a poor background causing him to adopt criminal behaviors. He enjoys torturing other individuals. He seems selfish because he does not consider others’ opinions. For instance, he disregards the grandmother’s pleas to be spared, even after she convinces him that he is a good man who should not be involved in such unlawful activities. Moreover, at the conclusion of the narrative, the Misfit and the grandmother cultivated corresponding philosophical positions, impelling the Misfit to state that the grandmother would have been a good woman if there was someone who would constantly shoot her.
As the narrative develops, it is apparent that the characters’ temperaments are dissimilar. While the grandmother believes in the Christian faith, the Misfit is not religious. When the grandmother encounters the Misfit, she decides to shift their dialogue to religious channels. The grandmother wishes that the Misfit is not religious while in essence, he does not have any belief. He relies on his reality, which he can assess and estimate; hence nothing more necessitates belief for him. He is a complete nihilist, as he lacks any human emotions or feelings. He forms his own conclusions concerning what is good and evil, and what generally seems rational to him. The Misfit becomes evil when the grandmother forces him to look into himself and assess how he had become. Contrastingly, the more the grandmother conversed with the Misfit, the more unwilling he is to consider her requests. Further, when she mentions matters regarding the faith, he becomes even more against her. When she begins to pray loudly, the Misfit becomes angrier showing how anti-religious he was. The Misfit does not have a sense of right and wrong. Whereas the grandmother is hypocritical, the Misfit does not conceal his true nature. As aforementioned, the grandmother is accustomed to demeaning others whilst perceiving herself to be morally superior. However, the Misfit acknowledges that he is evil and lacks the sense of right or wrong, and that is why he ignores the characters’ pleas and eventually executes each one of them.
Conclusively, the provoking account of Flannery O’Connor has appalling and exciting implications on its readers, representing a distinct development of events alongside its remarkable characters. The author’s and characters’ standpoints are philosophical and adaptable, making the narrative interesting and relevant.
Hani, Mohamad. “Analysis of Social Problem in A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’connor.” English Community Journal 3.1 (2019): 342-349.