"A Good Man Is Hard to Find": Characterization of the Grandmother's Conscience

Topics: Flannery O'Connor, Short story, Family Pages: 2 (658 words) Published: May 7, 2013
Short Stories: "A good man is hard to find" by Flannery O'Connor
The short story “A good man is hard to find” written by Flannery O’Connor is set in the south of the United States and is about an old lady and her family, consisting of her son and his wife and her three little grandchildren, who get involved into a very dangerous and finally tragic situation. After having an accident the elusive criminal The Misfit incidentally passes by their location. Being recognized as The Misfit by the grandmother, he consequently starts killing her family with the help of two companions. Instead of begging for the lives of her son, her daughter-in-law or her grandchildren, the grandmother only tries to convince the criminal not to take her life. For the time before getting into this situation the grandmother seemed to be quite a social person which leads to the assumption that she develops to be an ironic character throughout the story, also having a dual personality concerning her attitude towards different persons in diverse situations. Focusing on the grandmother’s conscience it becomes obvious that she shows two different sides. Although she actually wants to travel to Tennessee she appears to also be real worried about travelling to Florida because she has read about The Misfit being a fugitive murderer in that region. “[She] couldn’t answer to [her] conscience”(p.1) if she sent her own children near such danger. So here she appeals to her conscience being a truly worried person thinking of her grandchildren and family. But this conscience especially seems to fade at the end of the story. As soon as she realizes that it is The Misfit who surrounds her, she seems to completely forget her family members also being in danger. The grandmother only is interested in saving her own life by trying to convince the criminal not to shoot a lady like she was. (comp. p.7ff.) She explicitly appeals to him to save her life, not even...
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