A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Quotes

Quotes

Welcome to A Good Man Is Hard to Find Quotes page prepared by our editorial team! Here you’ll find the important A Good Man Is Hard to Find quotes on family, religion, moral decay, and other themes of the short story by Flannery O’Connor.

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📑 A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Important Quotes Explained

A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Quote #1

A good man is hard to find… Everything is getting terrible. I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched. Not no more.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Red Sam said the phrase in his dialogue with the Grandmother. Their discussion revolved around the difference between the past and the present, the Old South and the New South. The dialogue looks like small talk between two mediocre people. These sayings were pronounced by many other people of any historical period.

Nostalgia about the past often goes side by side with advanced years. Unfortunately, older people are unwilling to make a change so that their present becomes better than their past. They make do with lamenting.

During this talk in The Tower, the Grandmother agrees that a good man is hard to find, meaning that she and Red Sam are those “rare” good people. Flannery O’Connor uses dramatic irony here because the reader cannot consider these two people as good ones.

The author’s message is that goodness is not just about being a law-abiding citizen. The restaurant owner does not understand how painfully correct his words are. The monkey tied up to the tree, the way he treats his wife, and many other small images indicate that this is not the place to look for a good man.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Quote #2

Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

The Grandmother’s choice of traveling outfit tells a good deal about her personality. She is highly concerned with the appearance of things, even at the expense of her comfort.

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Being a lady for her is about wearing proper clothes. Following social convention is so critical for the Grandmother that it is even more important than life and death.

In the story A Good Man Is Hard to Find, this quote perfectly illustrates the Grandmother’s simplicity. She is unable to comprehend that death is an irreparable event. Moreover, the appearance of people who die in a car accident is deeply repulsive. It is hardly imaginable that one could have such thoughts looking at a blood-stained corpse. Despite her advanced years, she is childish and naive.

Moreover, the perspective of her death in an accident would entail the deaths of her relatives with a high likelihood. But it is no wonder that this thought never comes to her. The old lady is egoistic and self-centered. But the author does not just condemn the old lady’s narrow-mindedness. She blames the general human tendency to focus on “correctness” at the expense of literally everything. Striving to look correctly in the eyes of other people, we often forget about being humane.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Quote #3

I found out the crime don’t matter. You can do one thing or you can do another, kill a man or take a tire off his car, because sooner or later you’re going to forget what it was you done and just be punished for it.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

It seems very unlikely that The Misfit actually cannot remember what he did. These quotes about his vision of being a good man eliminate any doubts that he was falsely accused and generally innocent. This “forgetting” indicates that he does not view his past actions as wrong or take them seriously.

The Misfit brings death to the woman and her family without batting an eyelid. There is no such sense as guilt for him, so this is what makes The Misfit a bad person. None of the crimes feels wrong to him, and he never feels haunted by his victims.

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It is hard to believe that he remembered no details of killing his father. Although the reader is unsure whether it happened or not, The Misfit speaks about it just like any other crime: no memories at all. It can be supposed that he has an antisocial personality disorder, a psychiatric diagnosis of many other serial killers. This mental disorder could explain the blank spots in The Misfit’s memory.

Here the author suggests that punishment is not the cure. A profound analysis of the criminal’s story shows that his stay at prison made his meanness grow. If he had met a person speaking to his good side earlier in life, many murders could have been prevented.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Quote #4

Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead… and He shouldn’t have done it. He shown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow Him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can-by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

The Misfit sang gospels at church during some period of his life. He has thought about religion more than many other religious people, including the Grandmother. Unfortunately, these thoughts have brought him to unbelief.

The Misfit has a competitive relationship with Jesus, criticizing His divine actions. Jesus puts everything off balance because he caused criminals to question their mean lifestyle. Probably, tiny twinges of conscience visit him from time to time.

The Misfit commits crimes because there is nothing else that pleases him. He is not motivated or inspired by anything and does not believe in such categories as right and wrong. He compares himself to Jesus: both of them were unjustly punished, as the criminal believes. The Misfit positions himself as a martyr whose punishment was incompatible with his offenses.

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Quote #5

She would of been a good woman… if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Throughout the story, the Grandmother’s thoughts are about herself and how other people perceive her. Although this is a third-person narrative, the contents of the Grandmother’s thoughts are apparent: she speaks only about herself. That is why her in-depth conversation with The Misfit strikes the reader: she tries to understand another person without judging for the first time in the story.

This is the third moment in the story when someone talks about being “good.” The first was in The Tower, and the second was when the Grandmother assured The Misfit of his goodness. Ironically, none of the people who dwelled upon this subject field were objectively nice, especially in the context of this quote.

The Grandmother talked about “good people” and the criminal himself being good. And now, The Misfit concludes that the old lady would have been good only if he had continuously threatened to shoot her.

However, the killer does not know the Grandmother as profoundly as the reader does. He can judge her only out of the words he heard after the car accident. Was he so good at understanding people? Was he touched when she cried, “Bailey Boy?” Or did the author use his mouth to express her opinion about the Grandmother? In any case, being good only at gunpoint does not make one a kind person.

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IvyPanda. "Quotes." July 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/a-good-man-is-hard-to-find-study-guide/quotes/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Quotes." July 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/a-good-man-is-hard-to-find-study-guide/quotes/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Quotes'. 20 July.