A Good Man is hard to find
Flannery O’ Conner, a feminist writer has emphasized on the ethical choices or moral code of conduct people follow in their course of life and what is the influence of self- awareness during the tiring times. Through her short story, A Good Man is hard to find, Flannery sheds light on the mentality of the people. How easily people defy moral code of conduct and manipulate their loved ones to get their motive fulfilled and in the challenging times cling to the faith, religion and plea in the name of god to save their skin. Flannery also raises the question of good vs. Bad; who is bad? A manipulative, pretentious old woman or a rowdy, but transparent criminal who does not believe in the existence of god.
The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida, and she was persuading her son Bailey to go to Tennessee rather than Florida as children have already visited Florida many times before, and they will learn much more about the world if they visit different places. But all her persuasion fell to deaf ears, and she reluctantly talks to her daughter in law and explains her; how Florida is dangerous as a criminal The Misfit has been missing from Florida, but all in vain. Finally, she packs her bags, wears her special navy blue dress and gloves and takes her cat along to the holiday. During the drive, she strikes a conversation with the children; John Wesley and June Star about the passing things and the aesthetic beauty of the place. She describes her good old days and how children used to respect elders and behaved decently with the parents and adults, but this generation has changed and become uncaring and cold. Nobody pays heed to her conversation and enter an old gas station, The Tower, to rest and have some meal. The owner of the barbecue, Red Sammy is a delightful man with a heavy frame, he strikes conversation with the grandmother and says that it’s difficult to trust anyone in today’s world and recollects his good old days when it was no big deal to go out without locking the screen door, but now it’s impossible to trust anyone. Anyway, they continue their journey to Florida and grandmother tells the kids that there is a house in the farms down the dirty path which has a secret door. Grandmother is very manipulative and still wants to take the family to Tennessee that’s why frames the story and the children fell into the trap and urge their parents to go down the path and visit the house.
But in vain they do not find the house and instead meet with an accident. One wrong turn and their fate land them into a ditch with a disastrous end. Grandmother sees a car coming and asks their help. There are three men in the car and offer to help, but soon grandmother recognises the man is the same criminal, The Misfit. But she realizes that by saying it aloud she has brought danger to the family, and she starts cajoling the criminal and says that he is a good man from decent family. The criminal understands the inhibitions and terror in the eyes of family members but also plays along with the grandmother, and admits that he indeed is from a decent background and his parents were very nice and sophisticated. Though, his father always considered him different from his other siblings. The Grandmother asks him why he was in prison to which he replies that he does not remember, but his psychiatrist told him that he killed his father to which he denies. Meanwhile, he tells his partners in crime to help Bailey and John Wesley get out of the pit and take them to the woods. Soon there is a sound of a gunshot and the grandmother trembles and says the criminal to pray and ask for forgiveness. He claims that he does not believe in Jesus and is doing fine without him and then he tells his partner’s takeaway the mother, baby and daughter June Stars. Apprehensive, the grandmother says not to kill a woman and pray for repent but soon there are more gunshots, and even they are killed. Finally, Grandmother starts praying and says that you are my chid and thinks that her care and love might melt the criminal’s heart, but in vain, criminal shoots the old lady in chest and kills her and says she would have been a good woman, if somebody has always been there to shoot her every minute of her life.
The concluding lines of the criminal leaves readers in dismay and makes them ponder on the depth of the lines and hypocrisy of the old lady. Old lady pretended to be decent, god fearing and religious just to impress others and show to the world her faith in god and religion, but in contrast to what she portrays, in reality she is a manipulative lady who cooks up stories to get her way and even is ready to change her faith and doubt god to save her life. She is inconsistent and selfish but disguises to be selfless, caring and the blind believer of Jesus. In contrast, though criminal is bad and has done wrong things in his life but is consistent and rigid to his faith of no god and meanness of the world. He does not try to change according to the situation or to impress people. So, to conclude we can say it is not act act but the intention that matters, and it’s important to be true to oneself and the people around rather than being a hypocrite and opportunist giving false notion of one’s identity.
O’Conner, Flannery. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” Pegasus. Web. 8 Aug. 2014. https://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~surette/goodman.html
“A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” Shmoop. Web. 8 Aug. 2014. http://www.shmoop.com/good-man-hard-to-find/manipulation-theme.html
O’Conner, Flannery. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” Cliff Notes. Cliff Notes. Web. 8 Aug. 2014. http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/o/oconnors-short-stories/summary-and-analysis/a-good-man-is-hard-to-find
O’Conner, Flannery. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” Spark Notes. Spark Notes. Web. 8 Aug. 2014. http://www.sparknotes.com/short-stories/a-good-man-is-hard-to-find/section1.rhtml