Character as Reflection in O’Connor’s, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” In O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the grandmother is faced with her own moral beliefs. Throughout the story, she proves to be self center and hypocritical. Although her family wants to go to Florida for vacation, she tries to persuade them to go to Tennessee because she wants to see her “connections. ” She uses scare tactics and guilt as tools. Appearances are also important to her, she believes she is judged by her appearance and she judges other by theirs.
She dresses well so others will know she “is a lady. ” She presents herself as a good, Christian woman, but as the plot unfolds, her true colors are exposed. When she is confronted with the Misfit, her only concern is herself. For instance, when her family is taken into the woods to be killed, she tells the Misfit that he is “a good man” and because she is a lady, he wouldn’t shoot her. Also, trying to save herself, she frequently tells him he should pray. Ironically, she doesn’t pray for herself.
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Instead, The Misfit seems to question the existence of God. He doesn’t admit to his crimes and, therefore, doesn’t feel he should be punished for them. He states he doesn’t remember doing them and this is the reason he now signs his name, for proof. Similarly, the grandmother doesn’t take responsibility for her actions. She doesn’t say she is sorry for placing the family in this situation. As she continues to discuss The Misfits salvation, her own faith is shaken and she is forced to question her own beliefs.
She questions whether Jesus raised the dead. The Misfit states that if he had seen Jesus raise people from the dead, his life would be different. This is a pivotal moment for the two. They make a connection and the grandmother realizes they are more alike than she thought, neither is truly good and both are misfits. Connor Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Short Fiction Classic and Contemporary. Sixth ed. Pearson Prentice Hall X. J. Kennedy. Dana Gioia. Longman, New York 2000. 330-346.
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