A Good Man Is Hard To Find
"Adversity defines the essence of who we are and who we desire to be!" This can be best realized in the rural southern regions of the United States during the late 19 forties and early fifties. Without a specific location of long-term concentration, this story finds three generations of a family taking a vacation (planning at least) to Florida despite objections from the grandmother. Factor in her impatient son (Bailey), his wife, and two smart-ass children have marginal respect for their grandmother resulting in a crew of authoritative, uncertainty, distant, and manipulative people about to engage on a trip that ends with certain doom for all with a twist indicative of self preservation and ironic irritation.
Vacation time usually brings about excitement and enthusiasm. In this particular setting, a not so typical family, grandmother, and a stowaway feline eventually make Florida their destination choice. The decision goes against the wishes of the grandmother who points out the fact that there is a fugitive loose and headed for a destination this family has seen before. As the trip ensues, they come across various sights indicative of the era of segregation and hard time. Pant less Negro children, plantation graveyards, and views of clouds during roadside lunch are just a few of the sights observed by this family on their doomed endeavor. What trip would be standard without sibling conflict between John and June? Grandmother's memories of days gone by reflect on a man who used to bring her watermelon along with a sighing confirmation that she should have married him. Regret is never far away from her mind as daily events continue to consume her emotionally. The continued trip brings them to a roadside stop known as the tower. A full figured man known as Red Sammy who works as a truck mechanic greets them. His tall wife prepares lunch and socializes with the wayward crew. Casual conversation initiated from Red's wife to June that concludes with a smart-ass response that is commonplace with the brat's demeanor. Red comes in to chat with the in transit family and relates with the grandmother's observation of how things have changed and folks just do not cohabitate as social inter action was once upon a time. Grandmother at this point finds someone who can relate with how times change the manner in which people deal with daily occurrences, specifically noting social interactions. Perhaps lingering memories of times past allow grandmother to conclude that good men are hard to find. While grandma comments that he is a good man, his wife comes to the table with the food and a contributing thought that no one can be trusted (as she looks at Red). To this point, even a routine stop for a bite to eat never escapes the harsh realities of the grandmother as she tries to deal with choices, and the resulting consequences from her youth. Conversation then shifts to the escaped convict known as the "misfit". Further conversation details how the misfit would frequent their establishment. While Red tells his wife to be quiet about the matter grandmother comments about Europe's contribution to problems referring to the way they (Europeans) act. Eventually the family finishes their lunch and continues on the way toward an abrupt end. Red appears to be interested in simple mingling with their guest perhaps because of the family's choice to dine in their establishment. Their presence while welcomed simply is a transaction, nothing more or less.
With the road trip resumed, grandmother thinks she has visited a plantation in the area. A successful effort to visit the plantation has its best chance by enticing the children's interest in the plantation. Continued conversation suggests the presence of a secret panel, a ploy surely to arouse curiosity from the children. With initial denial of the request, Bailey reluctantly and agitated, pull the car over. Contributing factors consisted of the children...
Cited: O 'Connor, F. (1955) a Good Man Is Hard To Find, San Diego, California: Harcourt Brace and Company
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