A Good Man Is Hard to Find.

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Fiction Essay

Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner said that a writer must “leave no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking with any story is ephemeral and doomed- love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.” Flannery O’Connor uses these universal truths in her short story, A Good Man Is Hard to Find. An old southern woman trying to come to terms with the new culture of the south dooms her family by unknowingly leading them to come face to face with a notorious criminal called “The Misfit”. O’Connor pushes her characters to the edge using violence so that they may find grace.

In the story, there is a human versus human conflict. The grandmother constantly compares her two grandchildren with the way things used to be in her time. The grandmother says, “In my time, children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else.” (O’Connor 119). The grandchildren are terribly rude and are always speaking everything that is on their minds without a filter. There is also a human versus environment/society conflict. The grandmother comes from a time where slavery still existed, or, the Old South. She was brought up differently than her grandchildren who represent the New South. Viewing the relationship between the grandmother and the grandchildren, it appears that the cultures of the Old South and New South are polar opposites. This brand new generation has different values due to the changes that were happening in history.

Within this story there is another human versus human conflict between the family and the Misfit. When the grandmother recognizes The Misfit and shouts it out, she instantly dooms her family. As The Misfit orders the father and son to be killed first the grandmother tries to reason with him in order to spare her life. Desperately she says, “I know you’re a good man. You don’t look a bit like you have common blood. I know...
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