In the short story, A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O'Connor, many characters and objects are symbols. The story is a spiritual journey because of the Grandmother's dilemma. In the beginning of the story the Grandmother is obsessed with everything worldly and superficial. She cares far too much about how others perceive her. The grandmother is also the protagonist and is a sinner who encounters an unusual “agent of grace” and is redeemed from her sin of pride
The grandmother is the central character in the story. She's the focus of the narrative and the character whose reactions we hear the most about, as well as the only character that we are in the mind of. It is also the grandmother who confronts "evil" in the form of The Misfit. The grandmother does have a kind of "awakening" at the last moment, and her role as protagonist is all the more important. With her moment of awaking the story becomes centered on her transformation in the face of an extreme situation.
The grandmother is also a sinner and in a way fascinated by evil, even as her family is being murdered in the woods, she can’t take her attention off of the agent of grace or what readers know as the Misfit. Just as the Misfit commits injustice on a search for true justice, so does the grandmother seeking out evil in order to disprove it, which is precisely what she attempts when she keeps telling the Misfit that he’s a good man underneath all the crime. She, in contrast, is a sinner underneath all that passes for her virtue.
At the end of A Good Man is Hard to Find, The grandmother was redeemed of her sin by confronting evil in The Misfit, and finding the ability within herself to feel bad for him. The Misfit seems to experience that as a mortal assault, recoiling as if a snake had bitten him and shooting her three times through the chest. At the cost of her life, her soul has been redeemed of her sin of pride. And the Misfit has witnessed her...