A Good Man Is Hard to Find
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Vincent CastermansGentry MarshallEnglish composition IIHOMEWORK RESPONSEA GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FINDBY O’CONNORIn Flannery OConnors “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” the grandmothers conception of morality has a great deal more to do with whether or not one agrees with her than it does with actual goodness. For example, at a dinner with Red Sammy, When the grandmothers family stops to eat, she and Red Sammy bond over their shared laments that “These days you dont know who to trust” and that “People are certainly not nice like they used to be.” Although Red Sammy is dirty, keeps a monkey chained to a tree, and treats his wife poorly, the grandmother feels a connection with him. He is not a good man, even though the grandmother says he is. Its simply that his values and hers are the same. The grandmother herself discusses “better times” when “People did right ,” though she lies freely to her son and his family in order to get what she wants. She is embarrassed by the sassy behavior of her grandchildren, but she talks about the Old South and plantation life as though it were a better time. She is not a good woman, her values are old-fashioned at best, racist and elitist at worst. She is precisely the kind of person responsible for the Misfits terrible fate.
Therefore, when the family has an accident and the Misfit and his friends stop, the grandmothers behavior toward him actually has the opposite effect than the one she hopes it will because his values do not match hers. She tries to assure him, saying, “I just know youre a good man […]. Youre not a bit common.” However, he tells her that he isnt a good man, that he went to prison for killing his father, a crime he didnt actually commit. As a result, he thinks that one might as well do bad, if one is going to be punished whether one does bad or not. The Misfit sees the disconnect between the grandmothers values and his own. Hes been mistreated and condemned, his life ruined, probably by elitist individuals like her.In the end, he recognizes what she never could, that she was not a good woman, at least, not until the very end of her life when she tried to reach out to him in a legitimate and loving way. It was only the threat of death that compelled her to see the real connection between the Misfit and herself, the connection between two human beings, not a connection between social equals because, ultimately, ones social status isnt a factor in calculating ones goodness.So, in my opinion, by using the title “A good man is hard to find”, the author wants us to realize that a good man is hard to find but, indeed, a bad man is very easily encountered. With her behavior and beliefs, the grandmother has a rather patent faith that doesn’t clarify itself mentally until she encounters the bad man who acts as an agent of grace for her.