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A Good Man Is Hard to Find Essay

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As O’Connor has said “All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it”, in her short story A Good Man is Hard to Find, she demonstrates that the grandmother’s character and her journey to reach grace. The grandmother starts to be an ignorant, garrulous and selfish person at the beginning but reveals her grace at the end of the story.

To begin with, the grandmother is depicted to be a self-centered, self-considered and selfish person at the first half part of this story. At the very beginning of story, she strives to convince her son, Bailey, to quit traveling to Florida by stating that the criminal, Misfit, is heading to Florida and children have already been to Florida; she says they should travel to east Tennessee. Neither of her son or her son’s wife answer her. Only John Star, her granddaughter, concludes “she wouldn’t stay at home to be queen for one day”(O’Connor, 2) when John Wesley, her grandson, suggests her to stay. It clearly shows that the grandmother is only thinking of her own aspirations and would not miss a single chance of whatever the chance is, even going to somewhere she is not fond of. Besides, she dresses herself into an extreme female outfit to be recognized as a lady in case of an accident and settles herself comfortably in the car. We can see from here that she is really cautiously considering herself to be comfortable and safe. In addition, she hides her cat secretly without telling anyone or thinking risks and, to some extent, utilizes


children’s curiosity to attract them to the plantation in her memory to satisfy her desires. And, unfortunately, the two things together causes the tragedy and death of her family including herself, which shows her selfishness and its effects. The above three quotes reveals her characteristics of only considering herself and her own wishes rather than thinking of others. As shown in the paragraph, rather than showing grace towards others, she only thinks of herself.

Moreover, she is also self-righteous and likes criticizing and judging. When John Wesley and John Star asks to go through Georgia fast and claims “Georgia is a lousy state”(4), she says “children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else in my time”(4). She stays in her time and does not realize the change of generation with ideas. As opposed to her statement of being respectful, she calls a child “pickaninny”(4) and says that would make “a good picture”(4). She talks about being respectful but seems to be racial of her words’ usage and criticizes her grandchildren for not being respectful to their mother states. And also, she has a conversation at the restaurant, The Tower, with Red Sammy, the owner of the restaurant, about Red Sammy’s experience last week. She concludes that Red Sammy is a good man and makes an agreement with his saying “a good man is hard to find”(4). Nevertheless, she claims the criminal, Misfit, “a good man from nice people”(15). She is the type of person who is enthusiastic judging others’ words and behaviors, pretending to know everything, and making conclusions for them. However, when the reality comes to her, she appears to be the exact contrast of her judgement. With all of these being exhibited, the grandmother shows no grace but only ignorance and criticism.

At last, when the car accident occurs, the Misfit shows up and goes down to help them. The grandmother instantly recognizes him and calls out. However, instead of begging for her


family’s lives, the first sentence she speaks is “you wouldn’t shoot a lady, would you?”(15). And, she says to the Misfit “I know you are a good man”(15) without any further conversation; she ingratiates him by saying “you are a

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