The following analysis will be about the dialogue aspect of the narrative technique used by Flannery O’Connor in her short story A Good Man is Hard to Find and how it contributes to the story and its meaning. As the story abounds in numerous dialogue lines, it is particularly important to understand the sheer impact of dialogues on the perception of the story by readers.
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The dialogue aspect of A Good Man is Hard to Find is the story’s key component for delivering the characters’ thoughts, their personalities, their points of view on the events described in the story, and, ultimately, for creating impressions of readers about each character. Therefore, the importance of dialogues to the story will be explained by analyzing certain significant quotes and indicating their contribution to the delivering of the story’s main ideas.
The nature of the Grandmother’s personality is already suggested in the very first pages of the story. When John Wesley asked the Grandmother why she would not stay home if she did not really want to go to Florida, little June Star said: “She wouldn’t stay at home for a million bucks. Afraid she’d miss something. She has to go everywhere we go.” (O’Connor 137). June’s depiction of the Grandmother was rather crude, but, at the same time, it was accurate.
Old-fashioned and dreamy, the old lady has further proved to match that depiction during the conversation with the kids in the car. “Let’s go through Georgia fast so we won’t have to look at it much,” said John Wesley during the trip (O’Connor 139). The grandmother answered: “If I were a little boy, I wouldn’t talk about my native state that way. Tennessee has the mountains, and Georgia has the hills.” (O’Connor 139). Just from these lines, we can get the idea of a certain confrontation between the old and new views on things.
The Grandmother still lived mentally in the old times, where, according to her, people were better – they were nicer and more respectful. However, she still seemed to believe in the existence of good people. When Red Sammy asked her about why he had let the two fellers charge the gas they bought the previous week, she responded: “Because you’re a good man!” (O’Connor 142). The Grandmother’s reminiscences of the past and the desire for reunification with them led to a car crash. “We’ve had an ACCIDENT!” the children shouted (O’Connor 145).
“But nobody’s killed,” June Star disappointedly said, looking at the Grandmother getting out of the car (O’Connor 145). These particular lines indicate the strained relationship between the children and the Grandmother. Probably the most important part of the story is the dialogue between the Misfit and the Grandmother. “Well then, why don’t you pray?” she said while trembling (O’Connor 150). The Misfit’s response was filled with self-confidence: “I don’t want no help. I’m doing all right by myself.” (O’Connor 151) Both characters’ specific traits of personality are discovered during that dialogue.
The Grandmother does not want to believe in the Misfit’s murderous nature; she still sees a good man in him. On the other hand, the Misfit embraces the changes in his personal views of things, even though he does not deny he was indeed a good person once. The final words of the Grandmother to the Misfit can be defined as the moment of grace, which apparently affects him in the end; she cried: “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” (O’Connor 152).
O’Connor’s abundant usage of dialogues in the story is justified by its amazing ability to deliver all feelings, all emotions, and all main ideas of the story. They serve as the primary tools for reaching the readers so that they can fully understand every character. Dialogues are also the main indicators of relationship specifics between each character in the story.
O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” Collected Works. New York, NY: Library of America, 1988. 137-153. Print.