Essay on the Short Story "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" by Flannery O'Connor

Essay by brewdogUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2006

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In a "Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor, the contrast of good and evil is not as evident as it appears on the surface. The road that the family in the story travels symbolizes good up until the point the grandmother all but forces the family to make a detour onto a dirt road that leads to their demise. She is the unlikely antagonist in the story. A serial killer named, The Misfit, is the protagonist despite his homicidal actions. Both characters in the story help to illustrate how a relationship with God is perceived good and sacrilegious behavior is perceived evil.

The Grandmother as the unlikely antagonist leads the family down the dirt road by enticing the children with stories of a plantation she visited in her youth. "There was a secret panel in this house," (p. 197) she said slyly, not telling the truth but wishing that she were, "and the story went that all the family silver was hidden in it when Sherman came through but it was never found..."

(p. 197) Grandmother allows her nostalgic thoughts to carry her, and her family to their eventual demise. Once on the dirt road, the family has a car accident, another situation that was spurred on by Grandmother. The Grandmother's cat, who was not supposed to be in the car, startled Bailey and caused the car to flip over and into a ditch. Grandmother knew she had been the cause of her family's predicament. "The Grandmother was curled up under the dashboard, hoping she was injured so that Bailey's wrath would not come down on her all at once. The horrible thought she had had before was that the house she has so vividly remembered was not in Georgia but in Tennessee."(p. 198)...