Free «A Good Man Is Hard to Find is a Short Story» Essay Sample

A Good Man Is Hard to Find is a Short Story

"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" is a short story. It is a work by Flannery O'Connor. The story starts with a grandmother talking to her son, Bailey. She says that she prefers going to Tennessee than Florida for a holiday. The family opts to go to Florida (O'Connor 1). Granny wakes up early in the morning and rests in the car waiting for the other family members. She is dressed in her Sunday best with the intention that if she dies in an accident, she will be identified as "a lady" (O'Connor 3).

She engages in ceaseless talking throughout the journey. The old lady is reminiscent about her youth and comments on various things she sees. The family stops at "The Tower" for lunch, where she engages the owner of the diner in a talk about a murderer who has escaped. His name is "The Misfit." The grandmother, actually, agrees with Sammy's stand that a good man is hard to find (O'Connor 6).

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When they get back to the road, the grandmother tries to caution the family against going to Florida. She starts telling stories about a house that she had visited in her childhood. After hearing that it has secret passages, children become obsessed about visiting the house. They pester their father until he agrees to agree with what the grandmother says. The grandmother’s directions lead them to an abandoned dirt road. This is when she realizes that the house is in Tennessee and not Georgia. She upsets her cat because of the ensuing confusion. The cat panics and makes Bailey cause an accident, as the car rolls and lands in a ditch. Children see the accident as an exploration. The grandmother fakes that she is suffering from an internal injury to gain sympathy (O'Connor 11-12).

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While the family is waiting for help, a car emerges and three men get out. The leader of the group is a man wearing spectacles. The three have guns. The leader of the gang orders his colleagues to inspect the family's car. Then he starts talking to Bailey, and the grandmother identifies him as a convict known as "The Misfit." It is he who has escaped from the prison. The Misfit has previously shot his own father, although he insists he is not aware of this fact. Further, he mentions that he does not believe it. The Misfit orders his comrades to finish the whole family one by one. The grandmother begs for her life to be spared. She tries to talk sweetly to the Misfit, but the criminal ignores her pleas. This makes her speechless. She tries to witness about Jesus in panic. The Misfit gets angry: he is angry with Christ since he does not show any physical evidence for His existence (O'Connor 13-15).

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He doubts about the authenticity of Christianity. He feels that his time and energy are serving a non-existent being. He does not want to make almighty God who may exist, unpleasant. He concludes then, "There's no pleasure but meanness" (O'Connor 22). The grandmother suddenly shouts, "Why you’re one of my babies? You’re one of my own children!" (O'Connor 22). She reaches out and touches The Misfit who recoils and shoots at her thrice.

When the gang has killed the whole family, the Misfit takes a clean his glasses, concludes that the grandmother would have been a good person if she lived longer to sustain each shot. The grandmother, in a view of the writer, comes to be converted. It is indeed hard to find a good man or woman. The grandmother, finally, humbles herself. She accepts that all people are equally endowed, and none is superior. Every individual has innate faults and weaknesses (O'Connor 254).

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The book shows the gradual transformation of the grandmother, as the story progresses. Finally, the grandmother shows an act of charity and grace when she is humbled by Misfit. At first, she is more concerned about being a Christian than acting like one. It is depicted by the fact that she prefers going to Tennessee or Florida, which is against the wish of other family members. She is also more determined to save her own life than other family members. She also provides entertainment and discipline to the children while their own parents simply ignore them (O'Connor 1-5).

The theme of charity is seen well in the novel. The grandmother does not act in a charitable way when she tries to save her life first. Lesson should be derived that people should strive to be charitable and not mean. They should consider helping others to get out of a predicament that affects them.

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I also like the book since it teaches parents that they should discipline their children. The grandmother is a source of discipline and entertainment to the children. This should, actually, emanate from parents. Responsible parenting is emphasized in the book. It has lacked in the modern world where parents are so busy that rarely spend time with their children. Several children have thus lost direction out of this.


The story “A good Man is hard to Find” is very educative. It has many themes, which give the reader the urge to read more. In addition to suspense, the writer includes other features of style, which give the story some characteristic uniqueness. The death of the grandmother and the whole family shows the importance of being decisive. If only Bailey had been decisive, it would not have occurred to them as it had.

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