Questions for Critical Thinking
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
What is the grandmother’s attitude toward the South as opposed to the rest of her family’s attitude, particularly her grandson’s? How do you account for the difference?
In the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the grandmother’s attitude toward the South is that the “old South” was better than the current South. For example, in paragraph 14, John Wesley, the grandson, states “Let’s go through Georgia fast so we won’t have to look at it much.” And the grandmother replies, “If I were a little boy, I wouldn’t talk about my native state that way. She continues to say, “In my time, children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else. People did right then.” The way in which the grandmother spoke in a sharp tone implies that she feels the “old South” was somehow better then.
The rest of the family especially the grandson John Wesley, view the South in a more modern way. John Wesley views the South in a more current way. He demonstrates this view with his attitude and disrespectful behavior towards his origins, elders, and the past. For example, in paragraph 16, John Wesley states, “Tennessee is just a hillbilly dumping ground, and Georgia is a lousy state too. The family seemed like a more a present, middle class southern family with less feelings for their roots and the norms of old south southern society.
I account for the differences because the grandma and the rest of the family are different generation and the world changes with every generation. In this short story, the South is changing causing different attitudes to the characters. 2)
“It is the grandmother’s ‘Southern pride’ that leads to the family’s downfall.” In a short essay, explain whether you agree or disagree with this statement. Support your answer with examples from the text.
I do not believe that it was the grandmother’s ‘Southern Pride’ that leaded to the family’s downfall.” I think that it was the grandmother’s big mouth that lead to the family downfall. At first the three guys seemed as if they were going to help them. And Bailey had the situation under control until the grandmother opened her mouth saying that she recognized The Misfit. He states in paragraph 81, “Look here now, we are in a predicament! We are in….” and then the grandmother interrupted by stating “You’re The Misfit!” I recognized you at once. For this sole reason is why the family got murder because the grandmother recognized him. 3)
Review the story and mark the margins whenever you find an example of humor. How would you describe O’Connor’s humor? What role does humor play in the story?
O’Connor’s short story, A Good Man is Hard to Find, is full of humor but mostly of dark humor. The purpose of dark humor in the short story is to provide a gloomy mood for the terrifying end of the story. In paragraph 65, the author provides commonly humor when the grandmother realized that the house was not in Georgia but in Tennessee. The grandmother had tried and did everything in her power to have Bailey turn around and go the old house she wanted to see. Just to realize that there was no house because it was located in a different state. An example of dark humor is in paragraph 22, when the grandmother points out to the graveyard. She states, “That was the old family burying ground. That belonged to the plantation.” John Wesley asked “Where’s the plantation?” and the grandmother states, “Gone With the Wind, Ha. Ha” The grandmother’s reference to the plantation as “gone with the wind” can be seen as a symbol of the family fate at the end of the story. Their souls are “gone with the wind” just like a soul would. 4)
How much of a role does irony play in the story? How should we take the Misfit’s final statement about the grandmother?
In the short story “A good Man is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Connor uses irony as the main purpose to tell...
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