A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Characterization Essay

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Characterization Essay

By | September 2005
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Characterization Essay
Alli Sewell

An interesting person is often the foundation of an interesting character. Changing ideas, conflicting actions and complicated thoughts form this type of person. The grandmother in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor is such a character. With her hypocritical personality, shallow ideas and old-fashioned ways, she is far from being a typical old lady.

The grandmother exhibits hypocritical ideas in a few very distinct ways. She is constantly claiming to be religious and yet her actions suggest otherwise. At one point during the drive, she makes a scene about a little Negro boy standing along the road, and goes so far as to call him the "n" word. Typically, a person of religious faith will not have racist ideas. Not only that, but a religious person is not generally so concerned with class as she is. At one point she comments that she would have been smart to marry "a very wealthy man." Worst of all, however, is that she lies to her own family. In order to see an old house from her past, she fabricates a story about a secret panel, behind which she claims is the old owner's hidden fortune.

Aside from being hypocritical, it is obvious that the grandmother is entirely consumed with appearances. She notices peoples' skin color and makes immediate judgements of them. For instance, when she sees the little negro boy, she suggests that his family can't afford pants for him. Not only does she notice a person's race, but their style of dress as well. It is evident that she is concerned with clothing because of how she dresses for the trip. She dresses up so that if she should be killed in an accident, passersby would know she was a lady.

Her opinions of how to dress not only reflect her shallow nature, but her old-fashioned ideas as well. While the childrens' mother simply pulls on a pair of pants and headband, the grandmother dresses elaborately in a nice dress complemented with a large hat...