The Story A Good Man Is Hard To Find is a tragic story of a family which was planning to go on vacation in Florida. The selfish Grandmother wants to go to Tennessee instead and uses the argument that the Misfit is on his way to Florida and he is a dangerous criminal. Her selfish actions and intemperance lead to a car accident which eventually leads to a car accident. To make matters worse when they get into an accident three criminals including The Misfit arrive and she is kind enough to announce to everyone that she recognized The Misfit which ultimately results in her entire family getting massacred to hide the trail of The Misfit. Despite her efforts to invoke the name of God and try to sweet talk The Misfit ultimately, she joined her family in death. The Grandmother was a Pharisee in the finest sense. She spoke of piety and being a good woman when in fact she was a wretched specimen of society and among the five people who died that day perhaps she was the only one who deserved to die.
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The Grandmother’s description
The Grandmother was a hypocrite. During the trip, she told off her grandchildren for not being properly deferential to her home state. Yet she held the home state in low regard. She pretended to be a good woman yet she was selfish and conniving. For example, in the beginning, she wanted to go to Tennessee over Florida simply because that is what she wanted, to visit her home state. When the popular vote inside the car was towards going to Florida she even raises the specter of The Misfit just to try and convince the people to go to Tennessee. Her ‘good lady’ façade is just that a façade she is a cruel racist when they see an African-American boy along the road she says “Oh look at the cute little pickaninny!” pickaninny is a pejorative term for an African-American. To add insult to injury when they notice that the boy did not have any britches (pants) on she says something to the effect that black children don’t own pants or that their parents are too poor to provide them with pants. The Grandmother is also very biased against people as evinced by her opinion that ‘Europe was entirely to blame for the way things were now. She said the way Europe acted you would think we were made of money. She is also deceptive, when they suffer a car accident because of her cat she claims “I believe I have injured an organ” this is a ploy so that the people will not be so angry at her. She is responsible for their deaths because after the accident she proudly announces that “You’re The Misfit!” and “I recognized you at once!” as a result The Misfit decides to kill them all. Later she tries to charm The Misfit into not killing her by calling him a good man and even trying to use God and religion to stall her execution. Truly she is like the Pharisees from Biblical times, hypocritical people who try to appear holy but are rotten. She is a Christian in name only.
The Misfit’s description
Compared to The Grandmother, The Misfit is almost good. The story makes it appear that The Misfit is someone with a head condition. The doctor in prison told him that he killed his parents but he had no recollection of this ever happening. The Misfit is either insane or a hypocritical liar. He has a very good opinion of his parents. He even praises them for being good people. His old-fashioned manners and courtesy belie good southern breeding. However, his actions are ironic because despite sounding like such a good person The Misfit sees fit to murder the entire family. His worldview is cynical and his reliance on religion is very infirm. In his belief it doesn’t matter if you are good or bad in the end, you will get punished anyway. “I would hate to have to,” he says when asked if he was going to kill them. “Nome, I ain’t a good man” he confirms when he is asked if he is like his parent. If nothing else, at least The Misfit for all his Misfit-ness is not a hypocrite like a Grandmother.
“She would have been a good woman,…..if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” The Misfit says after he killed The Grandmother. This statement if taken has no meaning since how can someone be good if she is being shot to death? What he is referring to is the fact that The Grandmother was a despicable person. As mentioned in the early part of this paper she had many faults. Among them was her selfish attitude in wanting to go to Tennessee even though her entire family wanted to go to Florida. She is also a hypocrite, a racist, and a bigot an undesirable person who is probably the most deserving of death in the whole story.
However, throughout their conversation, it is revealed that The Grandmother can also be a good person. At first, all her duplicitous talk about being good and God is just a ploy to save herself. Just like her ploy in claiming to have hurt an organ just to avoid having the people angry at her. Later, it is revealed that she has a good side to her. Her last act of touching her would-be murderer and trying to say that he is her Son is a way of reaching out to him and trying to be good to him. Her ploy fails if it is seen as a ploy. However, if it is seen as an honest effort to reach out and be a good Christian to The Misfit it worked. In the end, his character was softened when he said “It’s no real pleasure in life” which is to say he derived no pleasure from what he did or that he was touched by what The Grandmother said in the end. Simply put, The Grandmother, only becomes a good person when her life is threatened.
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find.