A Good Man Is Hard to Find covers many sensitive themes. They include violence and grace, family ties and conflicts, and genuine good and evil. The Misfit says strange words. “She would of been a good woman,” “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” They show the significance of death
O’Connor’s best literary work was first published in 1953 after the writer moved to Andalusia. In brief, the story depicts the destruction of a typical family by three fugitive convicts. The novel’s climax is the offer of mercy and the grandmother’s acceptance of this gift on the verge of death.
The events that lead to the culmination spark interest in the story. The short story represents O’Connor’s forthright view on the upshot of life. Like in her previous works, the author exhibits her in-depth Christian insight. She emphasizes the place of religious ideas in an individual’s life. She concerns the eternal questions of good and evil. But O’Connor thickens the colors to underline the key issues.
The main themes are universal for human moral values and motives. In particular, the author discusses family ties and conflicts, moral decay, hypocrisy, violence, and grace. For example, the narrative unfolds the panorama of family conflicts and lack of sympathy. The central source of collisions between family members is the grandmother’s nature. Her disposition to go against others’ wishes, her hypocrisy, lies, and selfishness cause the tragic finale.
Grandmother’s two-faced nature is visible in her clash with the criminal. The woman has a rather superficial sense of goodness. She seems to regard virtue through the prism of good manners, decency, and relation to “the right people.” In contrast, The Misfit represents overt evil without a sense of compassion and a desire for destruction. At the same time, he subconsciously feels that his actions are wrong. The criminal would prefer not to do these atrocities. He seems to repent and even seeks or at least desire to see God.
In such a situation, O’Connor introduces the concept of divine grace in the plot. She implies that God presents His favor to all people, regardless of their sins and moral purity. But the remedies by which God directs His creation differ and depend on the person’s character. At the end of the story, God’s grace enlightens both the grandmother and The Misfit, the sadistic and ruthless killer. The former realizes that all human beings are equal. But the latter declares that killing people is “no real pleasure in life.”
In this context, death acquires critical importance in the story. Its presence makes the grandmother revise her outlook. And The Misfit’s words mentioned above emphasize this idea. O’Connor’s attitudes to her characters also highlight the significance of death in the narration. She portrays them as fallen beings with inherent and acquired vices. They deserve their suffering to become enlightened and happy.