Flannery OConnors “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”In her short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Flannery O’Connor’s seems toportray a feeling that society as she saw it was drastically changing for the worse. O’Connor’s obvious displeasure with society at the time is most likely a result of herCatholic religion and her very conservative upbringing in the old south. ‘ She seems todepict her opinion in this particular story by using the character of the grandmother toshow what she saw was happening to the times. Evidence of society’s “demise” is woveninto the story, and presented through an interesting generation gap between thegrandmother and her family. The grandmother is representative of devoutness and Christianity which O’Connorapparently believed to be more prevalent in the ;glamorous; Old South.Order now
Attention to primdetail separated the grandmother from the rest of her family who seemed to be living in adifferent world than she. As she organized herself in preparation for the trip, her familywas described as rather common people living in a frusturated middle class world. O’Connor described the old woman as she settled herself comfortably, removing her whitecotton gloves and putting them up with her purse on the shelf in front of the back window. The children’s mother still had on slacks and still had her head tied up in a green kerchiefbut the grandmother had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets onthe brim and a navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print. Her collar and cuffswere white organdy trimmed with lace, and at her neckline she had pinned a purple sprayof cloth violets containing a sachet.
In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on thehighway would know at once she was a lady. The parents pay little attention to the grandmother and when they do, they areoften quite rude. The unruly children are representative of the breakdown of respect, anddiscipline, and are consequently a forecast of future generations. They constantly demeanthe grandmother and at one point, June Star even complains that her grandmother has togo everywhere they go right to her face.
O’Connor seems to be illustrating not only howtimes are changing, but how the future generations have no respect for thier precedents. The Misfit represents evil. At one point the Misfit likens himself to Christ, in thatthey both were punished for crimes they did not commit. Christ accepted death for the sinsof all people, however. The Misfit is in a constant battle against his fate that he seeshimself being punished without any cause.
Although he resists this Christ-like existence hehas, he kills other innocent people not to save them, but because “it’s the only realpleasure in life. “Near the end of the ordeal, the grandmother recognizes the shirt the Misfit has puton as her son’s shirt. Upon observing this image, she realizes that to be truly Christlike, sheis going to have to forgive the Misfit and accept him as a child of God. At this point, theMisfit also has a revelation. His lesson however, is that by killing the grandmother, hehelped her find God and therefore realizes that he does have a purpose in the world, thathe will have to answer to a higher power sooner or later. Flannery O’Connor was deeply concerned with the values and the direction of theyouth of her time.
She believed that Christ was no longer enough of a priority to thepeople of her generation. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is representative of FlanneryO’Connor’s concern for the priorities and values of the 1940s. .