In A Good Man Is Hard to Find, the author shows moral principles decaying. Both the grandmother and The Misfit behave as imperfect humans. The story implies that a positive opinion about oneself does not make them good.
A Good Man Is Hard to Find is a famous short story by Flannery O’Connor. It tells about a family trip to Florida that grandmother, the main character, considers a good idea. She insists on the travel despite the dangerous criminal, The Misfit, planning to visit the same State. Grandmother has a very high opinion of herself as a lady and a Christian. Despite such conviction, she acts selfishly. She ignores other people’s desires and lies to visit a stunning location. The woman worries about other people’s judgment of her look if she dies more than about the mortal danger.
The Misfit, in contrast, does not try to appear a good man. He is a serial killer and bandit who probably murdered his father. His character does not deny committed crimes or evil thoughts. The Misfit chooses to kill the family his band meets after the grandmother recognizes his face. It is evident that his motivations are not acceptable to society. Despite that, the murderer appears more honest than other characters. He does not pronounce himself a good person and announces the intentions as they are. That does not justify the brutal actions of the character but shows his nature.
The story does not talk about positive characters that have good intentions. The grandmother is self-centered, while her son, Bailey, is indifferent. The children only care about entertainment, and their mother and the baby do not say much. The band of criminals made murder and robbery a part of everyday life. O’Connor has a unique view of the concept of morality. The characters of her story are selfish in different ways, making the readers reconsider their life principles.
Grandmother’s behavior changes when she stays face-to-face with the killer. Suddenly, the character remembers that she is a Christian. She urges to assure The Misfit that they are the same. God loves His children and forgives all their sins, including the murders. Her grace experience does not touch the killer much, and The Misfit kills her. After shooting the woman, he proclaims that she could be a good human. She only needed somebody to threaten her life every day.
The author shows the irony of a prosperous society in daily life. Everyone smiles and pretends that things are great. Yet, people ignore each other, the husband disrespects his wife, and the children annoy the adults. It is easy to add a label of “a good man” to someone without analyzing their intentions. People prefer not to argue or punish the wrongdoing. Instead, they find justification for the immoral actions of other society members.
The numerous details of the story make it somewhat confusing for a reader. Seemingly harmless behavior supports passive-aggressiveness. Longing for entertainment leads to the death of the whole family. The author does not intend for all the events to appear logical. Instead, she provokes the readers to think about the definition of good and evil. In some situations, presumably, pleasant people may show their selfish nature.