Analysis of Characters, Conflict, and Symbolism in “a Good Man Is Hard to Find”

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Analysis of Characters, Conflict, and Symbolism in “A Good Man Is hard to Find”

The story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is a fascinating story about a family traveling to Florida for a family vacation. The story’s main characters are the grandmother, the mother and a baby, the father Bailey, and the two children June Star and John Wesley. On this trip the family has a run in with the other characters The Misfit, Bobby Lee, and Hiram who are escaped convicts headed towards Florida. O’Connor uses literary elements such as flashback and characterization to explore what it means to be a good person. It appears as the only good person in the story is the person the grandmother becomes through her struggle with the Misfit. O’Connor seems to suggest that only through conflict can the “good” be found.

In O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” there are three main Characters. The Grandmother seems to be manipulative: “‘…I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn’t answer to my conscience if I did’”(431). The grandmother seemed to be concerned with only what she wanted. Instead of just simply stating where she wanted to go she tried to guilt her son into not going to Florida. She also states, “The children have been to Florida before”(431). She was seizing every opportunity to change Bailey’s mind. Whenever something goes against the grandmother’s will, she tries to make things go her way. She is egocentric, and obsessed with the her own ideas. She criticizes others and passes judgment on the world for lack of goodness; believes she's good because she is a lady. Though she is not confrontational she has her subtle ways to getting what she wants. Overall there is a lot to be said about the grandmother’s character.

The main conflict in O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” is religion. The grandmother seems to be very religious: “Finally she found her self saying ‘Jesus. Jesus,’ meaning, Jesus will help you, but...
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