Psychoanalytical Criticism of “a Good Man Is Hard to Find”

Topics: Flannery O'Connor, Sigmund Freud, Religion Pages: 4 (1414 words) Published: December 2, 2010
Psychoanalytical Criticism of “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”

A seemingly innocent family vacation can turn into a disaster if the members of the family only care about themselves. In the story “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” by Flannery O’Connor, a self-absorbed Grandmother, too consumed with her own opinions, fails to address the views, feelings and overall well being of others. Her family is not much different in their self-interested ways. This leads them straight to the Misfit whose childhood trauma has caused him to grow up into a damaged individual. The Misfit does not believe in the Grandmother’s religious beliefs and she ultimately cannot reach out and help him. The characters get themselves into a predicament for living in the Id stage, and O’Connor uses their actions to express her unconscious thoughts from her own view of life. She displays their detestable behavior in a negative manner leading up to their downfall. O’Connor shows her repressed, lonely emotions and religious focus through the thoughts and dialogue of her characters’ past experiences and self-absorption. Being brought up religiously, Flannery O’Connor unveils her repressed feelings about life through her writing. She also conveys her displeasure with materialistic society. This is displayed with the family’s horrid behavior. It is also believed that O’Connor writes about the hardship of her father’s death. After her loss, O’Connor felt out of place and alone like the Misfit. Though unlike the Misfit, O’Connor kept her faith close. For O'Connor, God's grace comes from forces outside the character, something they did not deserve, or a moment of epiphany. However, O'Connor's characters miss their opportunity to make a connection. The poor connection with God keeps them from seeing the light. She expresses religion throughout the story. She created it to be the family’s fate by God to die when they did. Also, for the Misfit not having a strong relationship with God, he winds down the wrong...

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Gill, N.S. “Oedipal Complex” n.p. n.d. Web. 27 April 2010
O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. Mariner Books. 23 August 1977. Web. 30 April 2010.
"O 'Connor, Flannery (1925-1964).(Narrative biography)." Encyclopedia of World
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