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Free A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories Essay Sample

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“A Good Man is Hard to Find” is rated as one of the Flannery’s best stories. She makes impressive use of fierce death to emphasis her theme in the story. It is a story about a vacationing family which was killed by three psychopaths and it is full of signs of doom right from the start. The story majorly focuses on the grandmother’s view on how events unfold. Although she protests that she would prefer to go to Tennessee, than to Florida for holiday, she prepares herself with her son’s family ready to move (O'Connor, 1992, p 2). In a hilarious occurrence of foreshadowing, she dresses in a dress and a hat so that if she died along the highway, she would be easily recognized as a lady. This essay will focus on the contrast that the author expresses between the Grandmother’s slight faith and the contrary beliefs of the Misfit.

As the family drive through the countryside from Atlanta, Flannery O’Connor says, “the trees were full of silver white sunlight and meanest of them sparkled” (O'Connor, 1992, p 11). This symbolizes the alternating experiences of good and evil the group is about to enter into. The grandmother had secretly packed her cat into the car, an act that becomes the genesis of their doom (O'Connor, 1992, p 15). After making several halts along the way, Bailey warns that they will not stop anymore, and this turns out to be prophetic indeed. Thereafter, the grandmother’s cat is frightened and jumps from its basket, thereby disturbing the driver and the car lands into a ditch. Only the children’s mother breaks her arm. Grandmother does not disclose her mistake to Bailey (O'Connor, 1992, p 13).

After the crash, three men appear including the Misfit and his two assistants. The grandmother makes another mistake by confessing that she knows the Misfit who authorizes his associates to take the children’s mother, Bailey and children into the woods to kill them. Bailey is greatly annoyed and this makes the grandmother to be offended (O'Connor, 1992, p 16). As a matter of fact, the story pits the superficial Grandmother against the malicious Misfit. The story turns out to be a contest of sorts  (as O’Connor calls it) between the Grandmother and her apparent beliefs as well as the Misfit’s more intensely felt connection with Christ’s deeds which set the world off the equilibrium for him.

Furthermore, the narrator warns readers that they should be vigilant to note the actions of grace in the Grandmother’s character and not for the dead bodies. The confrontation between the Grandmother and the Misfit is not limited to her attempt to save her life but also takes another shape; that of an argument about conviction and belief. The Grandmother is left speechless after hearing the Misfit’s allegation about Christ (O'Connor, 1992, p 15). However, the Misfit explains to her the reason as to why he believes in what he does. It is only after the Grandmother touches him that the Misfit is frightened and as a result, he shoots thrice in her chest. The narrator uses this phenomenon to contrast between the passionate belief of the Misfit and the simple clichés of the Grandmother. She expresses the importance of the woman’s empty conviction that the Misfit was a good man at heart. On the other hand, the Misfit uses his own difficult and reasonable method of looking at the world in the context of his belief (O'Connor, 1992, p 15). He believes that Jesus threw everything off balance by raising someone from the dead. His inflexibility in belief is due to the fact that he wants to be rational in everything he does.

As the story concludes, both the Misfit and the woman are given a chance for grace. When the Grandmother becomes speechless, she utters “Jesus”, thereby implying that she was getting into a deeper understanding of her faith (O'Connor, 1992, p 21). At the same time, the Misfit hits his fist into the ground and wishes for a turnaround in the stand of his belief. The Misfit had a chance to accept grace but instead, he retreats in amusement at the woman’s gesture. In his final words, he recognizes the role played by grace through him to affirm the Grandmother’s faith. 

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