“A Good Man is Hard to Find” Analysis
In the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” the author, Flannery O’Connor communicates literary symbols and prominence of Southern culture. Within the story, there are subtle yet important details that make the entirety of the piece as iconic as it is. The reoccurring theme of being a lady and moral codes both are important to the overall concept of the story.
The unnamed grandmother in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” considers herself morally superior to others by her being a “lady,” and she freely and frequently passes judgment on other people within the story. She claims that her conscience is a guiding force in her life, such as when she tells Bailey that her conscience wouldn’t allow her to take the children in the same direction as the Misfit. She chastises John Wesley for not having more respect for Georgia, his home state. She then points out the window and gladly says “Oh look at the cute little pickaninny!” While she proudly sits in the car wearing her dress and straw sailor hat, certain that being a lady is the most important virtue of all. Her hat represents her overall self as a lady and her misguided moral code. The grandmother never turns her critical eye on herself to inspect her own dishonesty and selfishness. For example, the conscience the grandmother invokes at the beginning of the story is silent when she sneaks the cat into the car because she doesn’t want it to be left alone for days, lies to the children about the secret panel in the house, and never mentions that the house is not near the location they are traveling. When the Misfit starts murdering the family, the grandmother never once begs him to spare her children or grandchildren. She does, however, plead for her own life because she can’t imagine the Misfit wanting to kill a lady. She seems certain that he’ll recognize and respect her moral code, as though it will mean something to him despite his criminal...
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