A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Topics: Short story, African American, Fiction Pages: 3 (871 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Views and Characters

Flannery O'Connor wrote the short story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" in the hopes of portraying to the reader the racist views of the time: many of the ideals possess "a kind of holy madness or beauty." (Kirszner 238). These are the words mentioned in Literature, and express the emotions that O'Connor made the grandmother experience in the story.

The story takes on a sort of irony throughout to provide a comedic look at old values and traditions, displaying to the reader how we advance over time. The grandmother very ignorantly describes just how separate dark and light colored people were during the period:

"Oh look at the cute little pickaninny!" she said and pointed to a Negro child standing in the door of a shack. "Wouldn't that make a picture, now?" she asked and they all turned and looked at the little Negro out of the back window. He waved.

"He didn't have any britches on," June Star said.

"He probably didn't have any," the grandmother explained. "Little niggers in the country don't have things like we do."

The language that is shown in this section of the story clearly demonstrates the difference between what is acceptable, and what is racist. O'Connor clearly provides us that she never has the intent to be racist herself, but rather her characters, possibly an influence in her life, are to blame. The grandmother shows her politeness to June, but also shows her rudeness by describing the dark colored boy with such racist terms, providing the reader with a sense of the "holy madness" that resides within her.

The story contains eleven characters, of which only one illustrates her lack of coming together and recognizing everyone as a whole, rather than as separate races. Despite the obvious difference in language barriers, the grandmother does reflect a soft side:

"Two fellers come in here last...

Cited: Mandell, Kirszner &. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing Compact 4th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt College, 2000.
Evans, Chris. Site visited January 20, 2000. http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/msgspool/evans/309/amlit/841779875.html. 2000.
Babycenter. Site visited January 20, 2000.
http://www.babycenter.com/babyname/. 2000.
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