A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Who’s the Real Misfit?

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Who’s the Real Misfit?
Amanda Ciske
Considered one of Flannery O'Connor's best short stories, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" portrays a family that sets out on what seems to be a comical adventure. The story takes a drastic turn when the family encounters a violent criminal, who murders them one by one. Throughout the short story, O’Connor develops not only the characters, but the following themes: family relationships, faith and morality.

In the short story ‘”A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the theme of family relationships is evident. Within in the dysfunctional family there are many relationships developed. There are two obnoxious children, one power hungry father, a busy wife tending to her newborn and an intolerable grandmother. The children’s relationship with their family is not seen as uncommon in that it is stereotypical that children of today have absolutely no respect for their elders. The grandmother attempts to keep the children in line and emphasizes that people are not nice like they used to be. While passing a colored person, the children are being impolite to their parents and the grandmother reminds them to be respectful. After the stern reminder, the grandmother looks out the window and says “’Oh look at the cute little pickainny! Wouldn’t that make a picture?’” (O’Connor 2). The grandmother had just advised the children to be respectful, yet, she makes a foul racist comment immediately after. The father of the children, Bailey, also requests that the children behave. In a stressful situation, Bailey looses his temper and threatens the family by saying “’Will you all just shut up for one second? If you don’t shut up, we won’t go anywhere.’” (O’Connor 4). Both the grandmother and father insist that the children are respectful, but they themselves do not set an example within the family. O’Connor develops the theme of family relationships in this short story.

The second apparent theme revolves around faith and Jesus. The...
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