DeMersseman 1Will DeMerssemanProfessor OwensENGL 110224 November 2017The Selfish GrandmotherFlannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” presents a typical white, Georgian family that lives with a hypocritical and vain grandmother. The grandmother sees herself as a good, Christian lady, but her thoughts are self-focused. The family is preparing to leave for Florida when the grandmother selfishly tries to force them to go to Tennessee. When that does not work, she smuggles her cat on the road trip despite Bailey’s (the grandmother’s son and the family’s father) forbidding it. She even lies during the trip to Florida so that the children will convince their father to go down a dirt road, a decision that leads to the entire family’s death. Thegrandmother is a carefully crafted character, made to show man’s pride and shallowness. It is notuntil death is imminent that she realizes her faults and turns towards God. From the very beginning of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” it is clear that the grandmother acts with selfish goals and talks in a manipulative manner. The family is planning a trip to Florida, and the grandmother would rather go to Tennessee. She tells Bailey that a man called “The Misfit” escaped from prison and is in Florida, therefore it is unsafe to travel there. When that does not work, she tells the family’s mother that they should go to Tennessee because the children have not been there before, and it would be educational for them. The reasons that the grandmother is using are not the real reasons that she does not want to go to Florida; she has someone she wants to visit in Tennessee, but they are the reasons that the grandmother thinks will be most effective at convincing the family to change plans. Later in the story, when the
DeMersseman 2grandmother wishes to visit an old plantation house, she does not say that she wants to go see it, but instead she lies about a secret panel in the house. She wanted to see the house, but she knew that Bailey would not waste time to go see it just because of her. Her secret panel story was madeup so that the children would convince their father to go see it. Le Thi Bich writes “she skillful [sic] and flexibly manipulates the language… in different contexts in pursuit of her goals”. The grandmother’s selfish desires are hidden behind her manipulative words. The grandmother also sees herself as superior to others and wants respect from them. Sheeven uses her manipulative language to gain respect. She wears a “navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print” (O’Connor). She wears this so that “in case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (O’Connor). The grandmother
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