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Born in Savannah, Georgia, Flannery O’Connor has come out as one of the most outstanding figures in South American literature. She has a dozen of short stories to her credit and two novels. Although she died at a tender age of 39, her literary works have stood out as some of the most compelling works, always revealing the structure of the society in a clear and conscious manner. Her book ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ is one book that brings out the society of America in the late thirties and early forties.
Insecurity was rife and there was fear of trigger happy individuals who would find fun in inflicting pain on innocent individuals. The story reveals vulnerability of members of the society to the attack of roaming gangsters. One character helps in bringing out this in a clearer way. The old lady, who was the mother to Bailey helps in making this point clearer. This paper seeks to analyze the character traits of this old woman.
Character Traits and Motivations
The old woman comes out with very strong traits in this story. When we are introduced to this person, we see someone who is very controlling. She had a plan that was contrary to what the rest of the family had. She tried to convince the son, Bailey, to change the planned trip but with no success. When she met Misfit, she tried to control him by telling him what he was supposed to do. She says, “You are one of my own children.”
However, this trait did not help her in any way. Another trait that comes out is the fact that she is flexible. She easily accepted to travel with the family to the destination she was against initially. This old woman was to an extent a racist. She says, “Little niggers in the country don’t have things like we do” (O’Connor 5).
This statement showed that she had some reservation towards the blacks. She also comes out as an intelligent person. She was able to identify the criminal who had escaped from prison. She says, “You are the Misfit” (O’Connor 14)
Character’s Interaction with Others
She comes out as a brave and easygoing character that is very social and sociable. When they visited Sammy’s hotel, she easily strikes off a discussion with Sammy. This gives the impression that she was able to create an easy atmosphere around her, making even strangers feel homely near her.
She engages the two children in discussions before and during the journey. She was able to engage the criminals in a discussion even after knowing their identity. This woman also knows how to interact with others regardless of age. She gets along with the two children and Sammy, Bailey, and the criminals. She knows exact topics to bring in each occasion and with each age group.
What Other Characters Say About Your Character
From what others say about a character in a given story, it is always possible to determine the trait of a character. The author states much about this woman. The author says, ‘and waved her head and was very dramatic” (O’Connor 5).
The dramatic nature of this character is witnessed throughout the story. After they had shot her, Bobby Lee notes, “She was a talker, wasn’t she?” (O’Connor 23).
This trait comes out throughout the story.
Character analysis can be done from various approaches. In the story ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’, the Bailey mother comes out with a very strong character. The author has brought her out as a brave person who would talk even in the face of death. She is also very social and flexible in her decision. Just before she was shot, she showed concern even for a criminal like Misfit.
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories. Florida: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1976. Print.