November 5, 2013
“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” By: Flannery O’Connor
Many people ask what makes a good man. Some think a good man is, a man that is good to his family and friends, some say that it is someone that is good to complete strangers. Well both of these statements are true examples of a good man. The short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, is a very good story that explains what a good man really is. That makes the true meaning of being a good person the theme. It is the theme because the story shows how to be a bad person and how to be a good person, and when they should be a good person.
In the short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” they show how not to be a good person. He does this pretty clearly through the two kids with the Misfit. He describes them pretty brainless. For example “One was a fat boy in black trousers and a red sweat shirt with a silver stallion embossed on the front of it. He moved around on the right side of them and stood staring, his mouth partly open in a kind of loose grin. The other had on khaki pants and a blue striped coat and a gray hat pulled down very low, hiding most of his face. He came around slowly on the left side. Neither spoke.”(O’Conner). These two characters are very bad people, because they do whatever the misfit tells them to do, and they kill the three kids and the parents. That is how O’Conner shows would a bad person is. Second, O’Conner explains how a good person should act. He does this a few different ways trough-out the story, but he explains it best through Red Sam’s Barbeque. When he has Mr. Red Sam telling them about one of his stories, like when he tells the story of “Two fellers come in here last week," Red Sammy said, "driving a Chrysler. It was a old beat-up car but it was a good one 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?”(O’Conner). He has the character confused on why he did a nice deed for complete strangers because some people believe being a good person is only being nice to people you know. He shows that you also need to be just as nice to people you do not know too. Also just because you are not a good person to start out does not mean you cannot turn into a good person. In McDermott’ analysis he says “The cracks in his egotistical armor begin to show signs of weakness (which in O'Connor is a sign of spiritual growth) for after removing his glasses, his eyes are "red-rimmed and pale and defenseless looking [and] his voice ... almost a snarl" (CS 132) as he cries out in anguish, "It's no real pleasure in life"(CS 133). It appears at this late point in time, he is gradually beginning to look inward and discern more than the circumference of mystery.” This shows after all the bad he has done and been through, he is finally starting to see the truth and everything. This is causing him to be more opening minded and a better person.Last, he shows when you are supposed to be a good person. It takes a while for him to come across this point, but he does it very quick towards the end of the story. He does this by having the Misfit say one simple line at the end of the story. He has him say “"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."(O’Conner). That line right there is the most important line in the whole story when it comes to the theme. During the story O’Conner gives many details about every character, even with Baily’s wife who remains nameless the whole story. As you read this story you pay attention to every little detail about the characters because you think it is import, but really these are just distracting details. O’Conner gives his Characters great details, because he has each character represent a person that society thinks is a good person. With through-out the story he has you think that being a good person is some that takes care of their family like the Grandmother. Then he has you think that a good person is someone that is nice to strangers like Red Sam, but really he explains what a good person should be with just one line at the end of the story. Through that line he tells the readers that a good person is someone that is nice to everyone no matter what the situation is, or who is watching. In Conclusion, Many people have different thoughts on what a good person should act like. Some people think a good person is someone that is good to their family, and some think it is someone that is good to strangers. That’s why O’Conner made the theme, what the true meaning of a good person is, because he shows the readers what a bad person acts like, what a good person should act like, and when they should be a good person.
“A Good Man is Hard to Find”, by Flannery O'Connor.http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~surette/goodman.html, November 4, 2013.