Flannery oconnor a good man is hard to find shmoop
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A Good Man Is Hard to Find
What a contrast, then, when the grandmother encounters The Misfit, who seems straightforwardly evil, with little to no sense of guilt, and a genuine desire to do cruel or destructive things for their own sake. Understanding the motivations of The Misfit, and what "goodness" means by contrast, is one of the central puzzles of the story. The Misfit has no sense of right and wrong, and for this reason doesn't feel any punishment can ever "fit" the crime.
The Misfit recognizes the grandmother's final gesture as good, and understands "goodness" to be the unconditional love given by divine grace. The grandmother brings up praying to Jesus in the hope that she can induce The Misfit to spare her life by appealing to his religious sense.
It turns out, however, that The Misfit has probably thought about Jesus more seriously than she has. The Misfit's doubt in Jesus leads him to think that there is no real right or wrong, and no ultimate point to life.
At the story's climax, the grandmother appears to receive a moment of divine grace, which might transform her and The Misfit. How this ending is understood is the major question of the story. The grandmother never took her religious faith seriously. The grandmother's final gesture is a genuine moment of grace. Other critics, however, have seen in it something more cynical. Many see it as the story of a selfish woman who uses manipulation to get what she wants, but is ultimately unable to save herself by her acts.
There are several moments in the story when the grandmother manipulates others, including her family members and the criminal. An interesting question is whether she ever stops manipulating, and if so, when. The grandmother never stops trying to manipulate The Misfit, and is stopped only when he kills her.
The grandmother's attempts to save her life are desperate from the beginning, and can hardly be considered deliberate manipulation.
Besides its more serious themes, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" contains some mercilessly funny comedy about a dysfunctional family, and the ways they get on each other's nerves. You know, the kind of family that could be in a National Lampoon movie? There's the two troublesome and annoying kids, the hot-headed dad who tries to maintain control of a situation and fails, the wife busy attending to the baby, and the grandmother, who's a case all to herself and also the main character.
Though the story starts out seeming like a comedy, it takes a serious turn when the family encounters a criminal, who kills them one by one.
Whether this family members attract any genuine sympathy from the reader, or from each other, or whether they death presents little more than a black comedy is an issue up for debate. The grandmother is purely self-interested, and shows little concern for the rest of her family. The grandmother in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" gives great importance to being "a lady," and her ideas about what that means reflect an old-fashioned, somewhat upper-crust Southern mindset.
She uses the n-word and longs for the good old days when kids were polite, people were trustworthy, and there were pretty plantations to visit. All of this leads her to associate being "good" with coming from a respectable family and behaving like a member of her social class; those who don't are outsiders. Her sensibilities are in for quite a shock when she meets The Misfit. The grandmother's values are only concerned with appearances, and are therefore criticized and mocked by the story.
Study Guide. Questions About Good vs. Evil According to the grandmother, what is a "good man"? Is she sincere when she calls Red Sammy a good man? How about The Misfit? What motivates The Misfit — why does he do what he does? Is he a wholly evil character? Why or why not? Why would The Misfit say he never thinks the punishment fits the crime?
Is he genuinely innocent, or does he believe himself to be? Has he forgotten his crimes? Does he have no sense of right and wrong? What does it mean when The Misfit says the grandmother would have been a good woman if he had been there to shoot her every minute of her life? What kind of "goodness" does he have in mind? Is this the beginning of a transformation in The Misfit?
Chew on This The Misfit has no sense of right and wrong, and for this reason doesn't feel any punishment can ever "fit" the crime. Questions About Religion Is the grandmother a real religious believer?
Does she have genuine faith? What evidence can you find either way? Does The Misfit believe in Jesus? If he does, to what degree? If not, why not? Between The Misfit and the grandmother, who seems to have a more solid foundation in faith? Why would The Misfit attach so much importance to the question of whether Jesus did what he's supposed to have done? Why is this an all-or-nothing question for him?
Is the grandmother's "moment of grace" a genuine moment of grace? What evidence do you see either way? Chew on This The grandmother never took her religious faith seriously. Questions About Manipulation Is the grandmother an unusually manipulative person, or is her behavior fairly understandable?
In her confrontation with The Misfit, does the grandmother use purposeful, calculating manipulation, or is her attempt to save her own life desperate and not thought-out? Does the grandmother ever stop trying to manipulate The Misfit? At what point? How can you tell? Is the grandmother's moment of grace actually just another manipulation?
Is The Misfit fooled by it? Chew on This The grandmother never stops trying to manipulate The Misfit, and is stopped only when he kills her. Questions About Family Is the family in the story a caricature of a family, or are they realistic in certain aspects?
Are there any points in the story at which one of the family members comes across as sympathetic? If so, where are they? If not, why? Do any of the family members care for each other? If yes, then what evidence can you find in support? Does the grandmother really about the rest of her family, or is she purely self-interested? Questions About Society and Class In what ways does the grandmother reflect a particular Southern social class?
To what extent is this conscious on her part? How does the grandmother's social class play a role in her confrontation with the Misfit, and in the story's larger contrast between good and evil? Do any characters besides the grandmother display an awareness of class or social status? Does the story adopt a negative view towards the kind of southern culture the grandmother represents? Is it instead positive, or neutral? Chew on This The grandmother's values are only concerned with appearances, and are therefore criticized and mocked by the story.
A Good Man is Hard to Find
Dominic Caldwell Jr. Lore EN Grandmothers are known to be loving, sweet and caring old women, not this grandma. Her cynical ways of manipulation caused her family to go through a lot of torture within only a few hours. Throughout the story she manipulates her own son, Bailey, her grandchildren, John Wesley and June Star, and even a criminal who escaped from the penitentiary. Not all old women are.
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Analysis of " A Good Man is Hard to Find"
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
They drove off again into the hot afternoon. The grandmother took cat naps and woke up every few minutes with her own snoring. Outside of Toombsboro she woke up and recalled an old plantation that she had visited in this neighborhood once when she was a young lady.
A Good Man is Hard to Find Analysis
Log In. Do you think the moment of grace is a moment of grace? Why or why not? How does the story change if it isn't?
However, it was published two years later in , in her second collection of short stories. This particular collection presented the author as a key voice in the ancient American literature world until she met her sudden death in when she was only The collection also won her tremendous fame, especially concerning her unmatchable creativity and mastery. The family, including their matriarch, the grandmother, represents the delusion perfection that many modern Christians have. The family displays an extreme sense of vanity, self-centeredness, and disobedience during the first half of the story. No one is perfect, everyone has inadequacies and shortcomings, and she presents this cleverly in her story.
The Grandmother in A Good Man is Hard to Find
Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides. Fifteen Minutes of Fame. Film footage of this later made national newsreels. Not Well Received. A Good Man is Hard to Find. Plot Summary.
A Good Man is Hard to Find Themes
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