A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Topics: Short story, Fiction, Family Pages: 10 (2445 words) Published: May 20, 2015


A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Abstract
Flannery O’Conner’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, is an intriguing story of a typical American family from the mid-20th century who set out on a vacation to Florida. The reader is taken on a journey along with the family meeting new people and learning of events that unfold before them. However, after taking an unwanted turn down a winding road, the family comes face to face with a violent criminal. A family vacation turns awry. Despite her incurable terminal disease of Lupus, Flannery O’Conner was a fictional Southern writer who found short stories like this to be comical yet serious. O’Conner was raised Roman Catholic, and at times found ways to incorporate religion into her stories. Within this short story, O’Conner used a feminist style of writing. Gender roles are contrasted and very distinct. Often times, she used foreshadowing to set off clues to the reader of what might happen next or even later in the story. Moreover, O’Conner was a brilliant writer depicting scenes of grotesque, deformity, or mutilation most likely that had arisen from her own fight with her lifelong terminal illness.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find (c.1955)
Flannery O’Conner born in Georgia and a strong believer in her Roman Catholic faith has been known to write short stories in such a way to send her readers a hidden message. Most of her messages are not clear right away, but in her writings she always conveys an underlying meaning. She would tend to associate most of her work to a “Southern Gothic” style and incorporate many of her short stories around the south that one might relate to (Kennedy & Gioia, 2013, Ch.10). O’Conner is known for writing short stories based on a feminist style of writing which is quite clear. She orientates the men to be strong and assertive, and the women to be weak and submissive. O’Conner also uses an abundance of foreshadowing effects within this story. Summary

“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Conner (1955), began with a family who was preparing for a vacation to Florida. The grandmother (an unnamed character) complained of the fore planned trip stating she would rather have visited her friends in east Tennessee. To help with her persuasion, she exclaimed of a serial killer by the name of Misfit who had escaped from the Federal Penitentiary and was on the loose headed towards Florida. She even criticized the children’s mother (another unnamed character) for allowing such endangerment upon the family. Even the two elder children, John Wesley and June Star, who were reading the funny papers on the floor, made their comments to the grandmother stating that she should just stay at home. The grandmother’s only son Bailey, unmoved by her request, rejected her demands and continued to push forth the scheduled plans for the trip. The family began their journey to Florida the next morning. During the ride they made remarks to everything they passed including a little Negro boy and a “large cotton field with five or six graves fenced in the middle of it, like an island” (O’Conner, 1955). The grandmother told stories to the children of a man by the name of Mr. Edgar Atkins Teagarden from Jasper, Georgia; how he was a gentleman and would bring her a watermelon every Saturday with his initials carved in it. She ended the story stating she would have done well to marry such a fellow, as he bought stock in Coca-Cola in the early years, and died a wealthy man. After driving a while, the family decided to make a pit stop at a diner known as The Tower, which is famous for their barbeque. Soon after enjoying a short dance on the dance floor, the grandmother began to converse with the owner, Red Sammy Butts, about the whereabouts of the Misfit. Following a short lived conversation that was abruptly stopped by Red Sammy, they began to reminisce of the old times. “I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched. Not...

References: Kennedy. X., & Gioia, D. (2013). Chapter 10: Two Critical Casebooks (Flannery O’Conner). In Literature. An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing (12th ed., pp.419-420). Pearson.
Kennedy. X., & Gioia, D. (2013). Chapter 3: Character. In Literature. An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing (12th ed., p.84). Pearson.
O’Conner, F. (1955). “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” In Literature. An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing (12th ed., pp.420-420). Pearson.
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