A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND - illustrates the deep truth of Christianity through the use of the theme of death. Grace is an important issue of Christian theology. - It is the very notion of death which brings grandmother to recognize Misfit as one of her children. O’CONNOR AND CATHOLICISM - Flannery O’Connor’s Catholic upbringing influenced almost all her fiction, often garnering criticism because of her stark, sometimes harsh portrayal of religion. - O’Connor’s great-grandparents had been some of the first Catholics to live in Milledgeville, Georgia, and her family stood out in the predominantly Protestant South. - O’Connor attended parochial school and frequently went to Mass with her family. Although her stories and novels are often violent and macabre, they are rooted in her belief in the mysteries of belief and divinity. Moreover, her characters often face violent or jarring situations that force them into a moment of crisis that awakens or alters their faith. - Moments of grace—a Christian idea—are pervasive, such as the grandmother’s moment of grace in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” - For O’Connor, writing was inextricable from her Christian beliefs, and she believed she wouldn’t be able to write were it not for this background. In a lecture about “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” in 1943, O’Connor said, “Belief, in my own case anyway, is the engine that makes perception operate.” She also attributed her desire to write to her Catholicism, writing once in a letter, “I feel that if I were not a Catholic, I would have no reason to write, no reason to see, no reason ever to feel horrified or even to enjoy anything.” PLOT OVERVIEW The grandmother tries to convince her son, Bailey, and his wife to take the family to east Tennessee for vacation instead of Florida. She points out an article about the Misfit, an escaped convict heading toward Florida, and adds that the children have already been there. John Wesley, eight years old, suggests that the grandmother stay home, and his sister, June Star, says nastily that his grandmother would never do that. On the day of the trip, the grandmother hides her cat, Pitty Sing, in a basket in the car. She wears a dress and hat with flowers on it so that people will know she is “a lady” if there’s an accident. In the car, John Wesley says he doesn’t like Georgia, and the grandmother chastises him for not respecting his home state. When they pass a cotton field, she says there are graves in the middle of it that belonged to the plantation and jokes that the plantation has “Gone with the Wind.” Later, she tells a story about an old suitor, Edgar Atkins Teagarden. Edgar brought her a watermelon every week, into which he carved his initials, E. A. T. Once he left it on the porch and a black child ate it because he thought it said eat .
- Spring '13
- A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Short story, grandmother, Bailey