In her short story “A Good Man Is Hard To Find Essay” Flannery O’Connor seems to portray a feeling that society as she saw it was drastically changing for the worse. O’Connor obvious displeasure with society at the time the story was written is most likely her religious and conservative upbringing in the “old south.” O’Connor shows her point of view through an old woman named the grandmother. She uses the grandmother to depict Evidence of society’s demise is woven into the story, and presented through an interesting generational gap between the old and the new (the grandmother and her family). O’Connor use of irony throughout the story is a clear representation of the way in which she portrays the events yet to come.
The grandmother is by far the most outstanding of O’Connor characters. Although all the characters contribute to the theme of the story the grandmother contributes the most because through her O’Connor’s views and opinions about society are expressed. The grandmother, the protagonist, is developed as bossy, manipulative, and grouchy. Not only is she random and frivolous, but she also demonstrates hypocrisy. “Aren’t you ashamed?” she ask when June Star insults the owner of Red Sammy’s Barbeque, but experiences no personal shame when stating that “little niggers in the country don’t have things like we do.” (383) John Wesley and June Star have little if any respect for their parental grandmother.
June exemplifies this fact when John Wesley says “if you don’t want to go to Florida, why dontcha stay at home.” Right after this smart comment June Star says “she wouldn’t stay at home to be queen for a day.” (382) The Misfit represents the evil in this story but also the downfall of society.
Irony in this story is a key to upcoming events that take place. The symbols of irony in this story all represent death in some way or another. The graveyard in the middle of a field, which had six graves and it, was a family graveyard.
The Grandmother remembering the old plantation house with the six columns right after they passed through Tombsboro. The tower in which the family stopped to eat (Red Sammy’s) looked like a tomb. The car in which The Misfit drove looked lock a black hearse. The grave that The Misfit dug with the tip of his shoe while talking with the grandmother symbolizes the grave in which she is about to be put in. Finally the ditch in which the car runs into represents a grave because they cannot get out and will stay there in that hole in the ground.
Throughout the story we see the events unfold and learn a lot about each character.
The grandmother is a self-serving, manipulative, and righteous old woman that represents the old way of life. The grandchildren represent the new way in which the grandmother does not approve. The Misfit represents the evil in the world and how it affects both the old way as well as the new. Flannery O’Connor was deeply concerned with the values an the direction of the youth of her time. She believed that Christ was no longer enough of a priority in the upcoming generations. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is a representative of O’Connor’s concern for the priorities and values of the 1940s.