Short Story Analysis, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”
Short Story Analysis Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” The narrator, Flannery O’Connor, in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” remains very neutral throughout the story. Telling only the details of what is happening, and not really giving any insight into any of the characters. She describes the situation and allows the reader to come to their own conclusions and conceptions of each of the characters involved.
For me, this made the story that much more interesting, to be able to decide for myself which characters I liked and disliked, without the narration pushing me to feel a certain way. One of the main characters, the ‘Misfit’, is a serial killer that escaped from prison and is still on the loose. He shows his lack of faith in God throughout the story, claiming “Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead, and He shouldn’t have done it. He shown everything off balance. (408) Also claiming that the only pleasure in life was meanness. (408) He even blames his lack of knowledge and faith in God in why he turned out the way he did; “…if I had of been there I would of known and I wouldn’t be like I am now. ” (408) The Misfit seems to slightly change towards the very end of the story, he acknowledges what he did was wrong, and he speaks about the murders saying that “It’s no real pleasure in life. ” (409) The setting is in the southern parts of the United States.
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The family is driving from Georgia to Florida, and the grandmother points out various things about the area. Of particular interest was the plantation she had visited when she was girl. (401) The grandmother describes the plantation so vividly, “the house had six white columns across the front and that there was an avenue of oaks leading up to it and two little wooden trellis arbors on either side in front where you sat down with your suitor after a stroll in the garden. ” (401).
She uses imagery to create the scene in your mind; as she describes the plantation from her childhood, you can see yourself sitting under that trellis on a sunny day. Her description of the scenes surrounding this story allows the reader to almost become a part of the story and feel like you a “fly on the wall” watching the events happen discretely. The conflict in this story is the grandmother versus the ‘Misfit’. The grandmother is trying to convince the Misfit that he can turn his life around if he finds Jesus.
She tells him multiple times to pray, and urges him to make the right decision not to kill them. Unfortunately, the Misfit cannot change his ways, and ultimately kills all of the characters, including the Grandmother. The end of the story does leaves the reader to come to their own conclusions about what happens next, as it ends with the grandmother dead and the Misfit still on the loose. The question whether he was ever caught, got away with it, or turned his life around will always be a mystery. The effect of this story is faith and disbelief.
The grandmother seems to have faith in God, and believes that if the Misfit would find God he could change his ways. At the end of the story, after the grandmother is shot and killed, she is laying there smiling looking at the heavens, as if she knows she is going to a better place. (408) The Misfit does not believe in God because he doesn’t have evidence to support God’s existence. He believes that if there isn’t a God then there is no real consequence for his actions and he can do whatever he wants; including murder. (408)