A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor is a tragic story of a family consisting of a grandmother, her son Bailey, his wife, two young children, and a baby going on vacation. They get into an accident during their trip, meet a violent criminal, The Misfit, and get killed. However, besides the grief sequence of events, the story dwells on several valuable topics ranging from nostalgia to the issues of religion, crime, and punishment. The points below provide some critical plot details and items revealing the true characters of the people involved in the story.
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- Bailey decides to depart to Florida despite the grandmother’s preference for Tennessee and her warning about the runaway murderer.
- The children are disrespectful of their state, parents, and traditions, calling Tennessee “a hillbilly dumping ground” and naming Georgia “a lousy state” (Thomasson Morris Instruction).
- The family members stop for lunch at The Tower and meet its owner Red Sammy Butts, a man having little respect for his wife but speaking about the good old times gone forever. He mentions that “a good man is hard to find,” and he cannot trust anyone (Thomasson Morris Instruction).
- The grandmother remembers a house she used to visit in her childhood and invents a story of a secret panel with silverware in it.
- Children become obsessed with it, start yelling, and Bailey agrees to visit it.
- They have an accident, and children are happy to see it as an adventure. Only the girl, June Start, is slightly disappointed that nobody is killed.
- A large black car reminding of a funeral procession arrives with three men in it, and the grandmother recognizes The Misfit to be one of them.
- The Misfit mentions his inability to find a place in society, and the first imprisonment for the crime he cannot remember.
- The Misfit shows some knowledge of religion and admits that praying could be useful, but he does not want any help.
- When all family members are killed, the grandmother makes her last genuine action appealing personally to The Misfit and seeing his real character.
- The Misfit notes she could be a good woman if she were always threatened with death. He also admits finding no pleasure in life and his actions.
Thomasson Morris Instruction. (2019). “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” (Flannery O’Connor) audiobook [Video]. YouTube. Web.