Crystal R Lewis
Professor R. A. Hughes
English 1020 NO3
Summer, 2013 July 1
Assignment # 4, Midterm
A Good Man Is Hard To Find
By; Flannery O’Connor
The grandmother in “A Good Man Is Hard to find” considers herself morally superior to others by virtue of her being a “lady,” and she freely and frequently passes judgment on others. She claims that her conscience is a guiding force in her life, such as when she tells Bailey; I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn’t answer to my conscience if I did” (O' Connor 250). She criticizes the children’s mother for not traveling to a place that would allow the children to “be broad,” and she compares the mother’s face to a cabbage. She chastises John Wesley for not having more respect for Georgia, his home state. She also takes any opportunity to judge the lack of goodness in people in the world today. During all this, she proudly wears her carefully selected dress and hat, certain that being a lady is the most important virtue of all, one that she alone harbors (O' Connor 250).
The grandmother tries to convince her son, Bailey, and his wife to take the family to east Tennessee for vacation instead of Florida. She points out an article about the Misfit, an escaped convict heading toward Florida, and adds that the children have already been there. John Wesley, eight years old, tells the grandmother; “If you don’t want to go to Florida, why dontcha stay at home?” (O' Connor 250) June Star says nastily; “She wouldn’t stay at home to be queen for a day” (O' Connor 250).
On the day of the trip, the grandmother hides her cat, Pity Sing, in a basket in the car. She wears a dress and hat with flowers on it so that people will know she is “a lady”. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was “a lady” (O' Connor 251) In the car, John Wesley says; “Let’s go through Georgia fast so we won’t have to look at it much” (O' Connor 251). The grandmother chastises him for not respecting his home state. They passed a large cotton field with five or six graves fenced in the middle of it, like a small island. “Look at the grave yard!” the grandmother said, pointing it out. “That was the old family burying ground. That belonged to the plantation.” Where’s the plantation?” John Wesley asked. “Gone with the Wind,” said the grandmother, joking and laughing, “Ha Ha” (O' Connor 251).
Later, she tells a story, saying once when she was a maiden lady she had been courted by Mr. Edgar Atkins Teagarden. Edgar brought her a watermelon every week, into which he carved his initials, E. A. T. Once when no one was home, he left it on the porch, and she never got the watermelon because a nigger boy ate it when he saw the initials, E.A.T.! (O' Connor 251). The story tickled John Wesley’s funny bone and he giggled and giggled, but June Star didn’t think it was a good story. The grandmother said she would have done good to marry Mr. Teagarden because he was a gentleman, and had bought Coca Cola stock when it first came out and that he had died only a few years ago, a very wealthy man (O' Connor 251-252).
The family stops at a restaurant called the Tower, owned by Red Sammy Butts. Red Sammy sits on the side of them and let out a loud sigh; “You can’t win,” he said “You can’t win” wiping of his sweaty face. “These days you don’t know who to trust,” he said. “Ain’t that the truth?” (O' Connor 252) Complaining that people are untrustworthy, and you don’t know who to trust anymore. The grandmother states, “People are certainly not nice like they used to be” (O' Connor 256). “Two fellers come in here last week,” Red Sammy said, “driving a Chrysler. It was an old beat-up car but it was good and these boys looked all right to me. Said they worked at the mill and you know I let them fellers charge the gas they bought? Now why did I do that?” “Because you’re a good man!” the grandmother tells him, for...
Cited: O ' Connor, Flannery. "A Good Man Is Hard To Find." Pike, Acosta. Analyzing Essays and Literature In English 1020. Ed. David L. Pike and Ana M. Acosta. Custom Edition for South Louisiana Community College. New York: Longman, 2011. 194.
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