There are various opinions with regard to the story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” The varying opinions mostly revolve around the grandmother’s act of reaching out to touch the Misfit.
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The most dominant opinion though is that the grandmother’s final deed was graceful, thereby implying that “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” was penned by the author to depict a gradual change in the grandmother as the story progresses. Initially, the grandmother appeared to be more concerned about looking like a good Christian than striving to be one.
This is illustrated by her selfish desire to head to Tennessee instead of Florida and, more importantly, by her efforts to protect her own life, regardless of the fact that her family members continued to loose their lives while she watched.
This was even made worse by the fact that if she had remained silent, none of them would have been met their fate like they did. Eventually, she came to understand that she has not led a decent life and therefore decided to get in touch with her persecutor, the Misfit, in her last act. This “epiphany” is similar to that of the grandmother’s newly found salvation.
Even though she does not succeed, her desperate effort have a profound impact on the Misfit, who subsequently says that through experiencing relentless violence, she would have turned out to be a decent lady had someone shot her on daily basis (O’Connor 142).
The second opinion with regard to the aforementioned matter is that the grandmother’s last deed was in fact not a charitable one and that she is yet again attempting to save her life. Some are of the opinion that the author Flannery O’Connor deploys the excuse to serve as the grandmother’s last gracious occasion to redeem the story from the horrific series of bloodshed as well as violence.
It is noted that by the time the grandmother reached out to the Misfit, claiming that she was her mother, he spotted a shirt with Bailey’s emblazoned on it. In addition, there are other opinions that point out to the fact that it is either not in line with her character or that she was yet again attempting to rescue her life and that her self-centeredness remained intact in the whole story.
The third opinion is that the grandmother is fraught with shortcomings but unlike the rest of her family members she attempts to be a decent person as she is respectful to her family members despite the fact that they ignore her at times.
In addition, its noted that the grandmother was very crafty as she indirectly influences the children so that they may desire to go and visit the house they were not intended to, thus the author notes “she said craftily, not telling the truth but wishing that she were”.
The grandmother thinks that to get anything she desires, she has to manipulate her family members, regardless of the fact that her conscience does not approve of it. The grandmother is the person charged with responsibility of meting out punishment to the children as well as entertaining them because the parents of the children do not seem to care about them (Goodman 45).
Not all interpretations are centered on the morals of the grandmother.
Flannery O’Connor’s has the despicable habit of using the dark as well as the morose to bring out the beauty as well as the philosophical prowess; with regard to the case of “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” it portrays divine grace. Divine grace is a concept vital to Christianity as unwarranted favor.
“Christians strongly believe the imperfect is made perfect”, i.e. people gain salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ. (Goodman 45).
The grandmother in the story attains grace by acknowledging that she was instrumental in creating The Misfit and that they are tied by kinship thus she reaches out to him in a manner that a mother reaches out to her child.
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O’Connor has the reputation of a religious writer. A lot of people cannot figure out why she feels the need to use violence in many of her short stories. She points out that in her stories, violence serves the purpose of making her characters come back to reality. The use of violence in her short stories makes stubborn and unsavory characters in her stories to receive divine grace when their time comes (Weber 89).
The story ends with The Misfit shooting the grandmother. She tells Bobby Lee that she would have been a good woman, if there had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life. This statement clearly shows The Misfit’s knowledge to what the grandmother had undergone right before being murdered.
He said that he noticed that she was attempting to minister the word of God to him, but that it only happened because she was afraid of death. The Misfit feels that if the grandmother had lived her life with a gun held in her head, she might have lived a better life than the life she had led.
Goodman Theodore. The techniques of fiction: an analysis of creative writing. London, UK: Liveright Pub. 2007. Print
O’Connor Flannery. Frederick Asals. ed. A good man is hard to find. New York, NY: Rutgers University Press. 1993. Print.
Weber,Jean. Critical analysis of fiction: essays in discourse stylistics. New York, NY: Rodopi. 1992. Print