A good man is hard to find by Flannery O’Connor
In “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Flannery O’Conner tells the story of a family in route to their Florida vacation and the trouble the grandmother gets them in. The grandmother does not want to go to Florida on vacation and tries many methods of changing her son, Bailey’s mind. Although she tries many methods, none of them have the effect on him she desires. Bailey is as stubborn as his mother, completely shutting the door on every proposition his mother makes. When she finally makes some progress in delaying their travels things go horribly. Bailey and his family discover the hard way just how ironic life can be. The grandmother uses many excuses for the family to go to Tennessee instead of Florida on vacation. The first of her many excuses is “The Misfit”, a serial killer that has escaped from prison and is headed toward Florida, claiming that she would never take her children anywhere near a man like that. This didn’t have the desired effect on Bailey so she explains to him and his wife how the children need more variety and they should take the children to see different parts of the world, East Tennessee for example. Once again her plea to Bailey and his wife had no effect. Even after they had left home she continued to try and divert them from their coarse. Finally succeeding when she convinced the children they would like to visit an old plantation home she had visited during her own childhood. There were many clues of what was unfolding during the story, although one would have trouble noticing them upon initial reading. The first of the clues was, of course, the mentioning of “The Misfit’s” escaping from prison. As the family was eating at a small restaurant the second clue was given. The owner was discussing with grandmother the criminal nature the society has compared to the old day an example was three men had stolen gas from him only a few days earlier. The next clue came after the grandmother and the children persuaded Bailey to turn off the main road in search of the old plantation home. The road had not been driven on in months, suggesting the perfect, deserted, hiding places for escaped prisoners. While traveling down the dirt road grandmother remembered that the house was actually in Tennessee, not Georgia. This caused her to jump, scaring the cat she had hidden in her basket. The cat jumped onto Bailey’s neck and head causing them to have a major accident. While sitting on the bank trying to recuperate from the accident a car drives down the road. Three men get out of the car and once again the grandmother messes up by recognizing one of the men as “The Misfit” and sealing her families doom. After “The Misfit” tells her that they had been better off not recognizing him the grandmother completely changes her attitude from complaining and disagreeing with everything to complimenting and agreeing with everything “The Misfit” said. Her complete change in attitude didn’t change the fate of her family as they were all taken into the woods and shot. The ironic thing about this story is the fact that the grandmother did everything in her power to prevent the family from going to Florida and if she would have just gave in and went to Florida her and her family would have never been killed by “The Misfit”. She even went as far as using “The Misfit” heading for Florida as a reason they should go to Tennessee instead, its like she jinxed her family. Her final attempt was the one that caused all the trouble; the attempt to visit an old house that she didn’t even know where was located. Its ironic how a simple thing like using someone, like an escaped prisoner, as an excuse not to go somewhere can lead to the murder of the entire family by that same person before they can even arrive there.