An Assessment of the Grandmother from “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
by Flannery O’Connor
The grandmother who remains unnamed all throughout in the story is the protagonist and the central character of Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is hard to Find, a tragic story of a family who decided to go on vacation but got killed randomly on the road by a criminal on the loose named “The Misfit”. She is endowed with a joyful spirit, a passion in life in spite of her age. She is a non-stereotypical woman whose old fashion clothing and beliefs contradict her strong, manipulative mind, an opposite trait of a passive and complacent woman in her time. The Grandmother is a smart woman who knows how to assert herself by trying to use all the available resources around her and manipulating them by appealing to their morality. From this information we say that the grandmother is a round and dynamic character as her character changes from being a manipulative mother to her son Bailey, to a quirky, playful grandmother who ignite her grandchildren’s imagination by her stories, and finally, to a humble human being who experiences “awakening” and acceptance of defeat in her moral battle and failed manipulation scheme with The Misfit.
Right from the beginning of the story, we are introduced to a powerful trait of the grandmother—her strong and manipulative character. She did not want to go to Florida, as her son Bailey has planned for the family. Instead she wanted to go to Tennessee to visit her old friends and “she was seizing at every chance to change Bailey’s mind” (356). She would use everything around her to complete her scheme and set things her way. She picks up a newspaper and shows him the news about a criminal on the loose from the Federal Penitentiary who is headed towards Florida, and attacks his conscience and morals by saying, ”I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that a loose in it. I couldn’t answer to my conscience if I did”...
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