Flannery O’Connor’s short novel A Good Man is Hard to Find describes perverted morality. The author tells about immoral individuals who have a sense of false integrity. The other ones depict how hypocrisy and moral corruption are the main traits of “good” people.
A Good Man is Hard to Find (1953) is one of Flannery O’Connor’s widely known short narratives. O’Connor was a devoutly religious person, and her writings described the struggle between good and evil.
A Good Man is Hard to Find portrays two groups of people. Flawed individuals and the bad ones who believe they do the right things in life. For instance, the grandma is mistaken since she considers her moral qualities are evident. She thinks that such a thing as a sachet could save her in an accident. In her opinion, this detail would let everyone know that she is a lady. She claims to be the right person as she sympathizes with others. Yet, she never does anything morally correct for people. Grandma never challenges herself and asks if what she does is good or bad. She never once apologized or admitted her shortcomings. In short, she has immoral values.
In the end, the grandmother meets The Misfit, who is a serial killer. But this character is the closest to integrity. A famous criminal cannot recollect his previous crimes. Still, he recognizes his proper moral position and never neglects to tell the truth. Even though he is a murderer, his intentions have always been sincere.
The Misfit arouses a sense of humanity in the grandmother. She used to be manipulative with her family and other people. But when the old lady meets this serial killer, she becomes openly affectionate. The grandmother even offers him the kind of emotional comfort she never gave to her son. For a moment, it seems that he can save the grandmother.
In his writings, O’Connor calls The Misfit a “prophet freak.” Grandma is aware of her burden because the criminal made her contemplate it as something that holds her back. Her eyes are open, and she sees her life full of bad words and actions. Meanwhile, The Misfit was true to his principles without hesitation, even in critical moments.
Personal integrity in the novels of O’Connor is possible when people are self-reflexive. It implies they can be self-judgmental and conscious. However, the rigor of honest self-assessment cannot make a person good at once. There is a moral system that includes many evil people, and no one is truthful.
The grandmother once mentions that the world they live in is corrupt. But she makes a mistake when she thinks of herself as an exception. Instead, she is a typical example of a person whose social mentality accepts verbal signs for values. It means that words are worthy, and actions are not. Some people stand out from society, like The Misfit and some other O’Connor’s memorable characters. They sense the invisible moral burden and struggle with it. Their fight may not lead them to fame or redemption. However, they can realize their shortcomings and are free of hypocrisy.