A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery OConnorA Good Man Is Hard to Find is Flannery OConnors most famous and most discussed story. OConnor herself singled it out by making it the title piece of her first collection and the story she most often chose for readings or talks to students. It is an unforgettable tale, both riveting and comic, of the confrontation of a family with violence and sudden death. More than anything else OConnor ever wrote, this story mixes the comedy, violence, and religious concerns that characterize her fiction.
This casebook for the story includes an introduction by the editor, a chronology of the authors life, the authoritative text of the story itself, comments and letters by OConnor about the story, critical essays, and a bibliography. The critical essays span more than twenty years of commentary and suggest several approaches to the story--formalistic, thematic, deconstructionist-- all within the grasp of the undergraduate, while the introduction also points interested students toward still other resources. Useful for both beginning and advanced students, this casebook provides an in-depth introduction to one of Americas most gifted modern writers.
Flannery O'Connor Reads "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" (1959)
Analysis of Flannery O'Connor's Story, 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find'
Several of the stories are generally considered masterpieces of the form. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History.
The story appears in the collection of short stories of the same name. The interpretive work of scholars often focuses on the controversial final scene. A man named Bailey intends to take his family from Georgia to Florida for a summer vacation, but his mother, referred to as "the grandmother" in the story wants him to drive to East Tennessee , where the grandmother has friends "connections". She argues that his children, John Wesley and June Star, have never been to East Tennessee, and she shows him a news article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about an escaped murderer who calls himself "The Misfit" and was last seen in Florida. The next day, the grandmother wakes up early to hide her cat, Pitty Sing, in a basket on the floor in the back of the car. She is worried that the cat will die while they are gone. Bailey finds his mother sitting in the car, dressed in her best clothes and an ostentatious hat; if she should die in an accident along the road, she wants people to see her corpse and know she was refined and "a lady.
O'Connor was a staunch Catholic, and like most of her stories, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" wrestles with questions of good and evil and the possibility of divine grace. A grandmother is traveling with her family her son Bailey, his wife, and their three children from Atlanta to Florida for a vacation. The grandmother, who would prefer to go to East Tennessee, informs the family that a violent criminal known as The Misfit is loose in Florida, but they do not change their plans. The grandmother secretly brings her cat in the car. They stop for lunch at Red Sammy's Famous Barbecue, and the grandmother and Red Sammy commiserate that the world is changing and "a good man is hard to find. After lunch, the family begins driving again and the grandmother realizes they are near an old plantation she once visited. Wanting to see it again, she tells the children that the house has a secret panel and they clamor to go.
First published in , following her permanent move to Andalusia, her mother's dairy farm, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" illustrates many of the techniques and themes which were to characterize the typical O'Connor story. Since she was limited by her illness to short and infrequent trips away from the farm, O'Connor learned to draw upon the resources at hand for the subject matter of her stories. These resources included the people around her, her reading material, which consisted of various books and periodicals which came to Andalusia, and an assortment of local and regional newspapers. Several critics have pointed out the influence of regional and local newspaper stories on O'Connor's fiction. The Misfit, the pathological killer who murders an entire family in this story, was apparently fabricated from newspaper accounts of two criminals who had terrorized the Atlanta area in the early s; Red Sammy Butts, according to another critic, may have been based on a local "good ole boy" who had made good and returned to Milledgeville each year, on the occasion of his birthday, to attend a banquet in his honor, hosted by the local merchants. O'Connor's treatment of the characters in this story reinforces her view of man as a fallen creature. Briefly, the story depicts the destruction of an altogether too normal family by three escaped convicts.
It's a little hard to know how to introduce a story as totally polarizing as "A Good Man is Hard to Find. However you choose to define "A Good Man Is Hard To Find"—and we usually define it as "all of the above"—chances are pretty good that you're going to be marked or should we say scarred? The setup: a family dotty grandma, bratty kids, angry cat set out on a road trip to Florida. Being cooped up in the car together brings out everyone's worst qualities: the children are annoying and entitled, the grandma is wistfully nostalgic and racist, and the dad is a grouch. Plus, the grownups are a little nervous—and a little titillated—to know that a dangerous murderer named The Misfit has escaped from the penitentiary and is also headed to the Sunshine State.