Michael Pagan: a Good Man Is Hard to Find

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Michael Pagan February 4, 2013

ELA’S A Good Man Is Hard to Find

In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor there is the main theme going on throughout the story: good versus evil. Both the grandma vs. the misfit represents the theme of the southern gothic story.

In the story the grandma considers herself being superior to others due to her being a “lady”. She frequently passes judgment on others and claims that her conscience is a guiding force in her life, such as when she tells Bailey that her conscience wouldn’t allow her to take the children in the same direction as the Misfit. She criticizes the children’s mother for not traveling to a place that would allow the children to “be broad,” and she compares the mother’s face to a cabbage. The grandmother never turns her critical eye on herself to inspect her own hypocrisy, dishonesty, and selfishness. For example, the conscience the grandmother invokes at the beginning of the story is conveniently silent when she sneaks her cat into the car, lies to the children about the secret panel, and refusing not to reveal that she made a mistake about the location of the house. When the Misfit sends his sidekicks to murder her family, the grandmother never once begs him to spare her children or grandchildren’s life. She does, however, plead for her own life because she can’t imagine the Misfit wanting to kill a lady. She seems positive that he will recognize and respect her moral code, even though he is a criminal that might not care about her moral code. She tries to draw him into her world by assuring him that he is a good man, but even though he agrees with her compliment of him, he does not see this as a reason to spare her. Only when the grandmother is facing death, in her final moments alone with the Misfit, does she understand where she has gone wrong in her life. Instead of being superior, she realizes, she is imperfect like everyone else. When she tells the Misfit that he is “one of...
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