Good and Evil in O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

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“A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” is one of the most famous short stories by Georgia writer Flannery O’Connor that first published in 1953. The story was about a family on their vacation, and how the grandma’s downfall leading her family to face the serial killer. In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” we see that O’Connor has shown us her preoccupation with violence and death in the story through the imagery that related and lead to the death of the family. This story emphasizes the horrors of what happens when one of life’s worst worries, the threat of sudden violence, and facing death at the hands of an unknown attacker that has happened to the grandmother and her family. The story highlights it’s hard to find a good man because evil always represents in everyone, the boundary between good and evil is very close. Misfit was narrated as a true embodiment of evil, which he represents; the grandma was described as a good woman who does all the right things but all her actions in the story reflect herself as being a bad person by her selfishness.

The grandmother seems to believe that being a good person means being honest, respectful, and her definition of good people seems very vague and misleading by thinking that goodness mostly as a function of being decent, having good manners. At the beginning of the story, a family planning to go on a trip to Florida, but the grandmother doesn’t want to go there. She tried to change her son’s mind about going to Florida by telling him what was on the news that the serial killer just escaped from the jail and was headed toward Florida. She said: “I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it” (O’ Connor 274).

Grandma’s statement is dramatic irony because she said she wouldn’t take her children to any dangerous places but she was the one that indirectly killed the family by leading them to go to Tennessee, where they faced Misfit and where the tragedy occurred. This shows that the grandma didn’t really be honest, this is just one of the reasons to convince her son not to go to Florida, so she can go to Tennessee to visit her connections. This comes from her selfishness, she doesn’t think about the wishes and feelings of the family, she only cares about what she wants and tries to find every reason to achieve it without thinking about the consequences. She calls Red Sammy is a “good man” just because he blindly trusts strangers. In this case, her definition of “good” seems to include gullibility, and blind faith, none of which are inherently “good.” Which later on, when she faces Misfit, she said: “You wouldn’t shoot a lady, would you?” and “I know you’re a good man.” (O’ Connor 281), she calls Misfit a “good man” because she believes that he would not shoot an old lady like her. In her dialogue with Misfit, she just tries to save her own life by talking to him that he’s a good man then he wouldn’t kill an old lady. She doesn’t mention anything about her children, she just begs for her own life.

Misfit, who seems a straightforwardly evil and sinful man, has no sense of guilt, and a genuine desire to do cruel or destructive things. He and the car he drove makes the readers feel gloomy and deadly when he and his gang appeared at the ditch, where the family was in an accident. “The car continued to come on slowly, disappeared around a bend and appeared again, moving even slower, on top of the hill they had gone over. It was a big black battered hearse-like automobile” (O’ Connor 280). As we know, a hearse is a vehicle used to carry a coffin to a funeral. The appearance of the car and the driver portray darkness and wickedness in them. The car clearly symbolizes death, the car is approaching as well as the death is coming near to the family, which Misfit brings death to the whole family. The car also is a place for Misfit and his gang to store and carry the violent and death histories that they inflicted on other innocent people. Even the Misfit himself knows enough to recognize or admit that he “ain’t a good man” (O’ Connor 282) and has no sense of guilts. Misfit is really the embodiment of evil. He bluntly murders people with no mercy even if it was children or the elders. His presence is evil that brings death everywhere. Evil is already existing in him; he just does what he feels like it brings him joys even it’s illegal.

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Good and Evil in O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. (2020, Sep 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/good-and-evil-in-oconnors-a-good-man-is-hard-to-find/

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