Themes in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find'

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Derek Mathis
English Comp II
Mrs. Urioste
October 15, 2012

Authors use many themes in short stories. In Flannery O’Connor’s, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, the story has themes that are a universal truths that can withstand the test of time. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” is Flannery’s most popular piece that she wrote. The themes in the story are life’s battle with what good really is, life’s battle with religion, and life’s battle with society and class.

First, life’s battle with good versus evil, the grandmother has a blurred version of what “good” really is and what it is not. The grandmother first uses “good” with Red Sammy. “[Sammy] asks her why he let two strangers charge their gasoline [because] he got swindled and the grandmother says because he’s a good man” (SparkNotes Editors). “ In this case, her definition of good seems to include gullibility, poor judgment, and blind faith, none of which are inherently good” (SparkNotes Editors). Sammy not having good business sense and getting ripped off leads the grandmother to think he is a good man due to pity. Sammy could have been a cheat and a liar, but just because he got swindled, the grandmother calls him a good man. The next label of good she applies to the Misfit, a criminal that escaped. “ [She] wouldn’t take [her] children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose. . .(O’Connor 575). The Misfit being that bad the grandmother still calls him good. “The grandmother’s application of the label ‘good man’ reveals that ‘good’ doesn’t imply ‘moral’ or ‘kind’”(SparkNotes Editors). Good for the grandmother is if his values align with hers, if not then that person cannot be good. In life’s battle with what good really is people need to judge based on deeds, not on if they are like others.

Secondly, life’s battle with religion is a theme in the story. There are many things that happen in life to make one lose faith or to question it. In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, the...
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