In A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor, the grandmother is the central character. The story focuses on her behaviors and actions and her relationships with other characters of the book. She symbolizes the mental change in the face of death.
The grandmother is the protagonist of A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor. The reader learns the most about her character, yet at the same time, her behavior is challenging to understand. She is talkative and naïve, and in the face of death, she stays true to these qualities. The grandmother cares about her looks. She wants to be viewed as a lady even if she dies in a car accident. She maintains her image throughout the whole story, even when she faces The Misfit.
It is the grandmother’s actions that eventually lead to the family’s death. She proposes to see the plantation she had previously visited. She also decides to take her cat, Pitty Sing, on the road trip. Besides, her son Bailey disapproves of that. When she realizes that the plantation is in a different state, the protagonist accidentally pushes her valise. It eventually triggers Pitty Sing to jump onto Bailey’s shoulder. It causes the accident, which is the central plot point of the story. It is due to the accident that The Misfit is introduced to the family.
The dialogue between the criminal and the grandmother is central to the book. Their conversation is escalating in absurdity over time. It becomes clear that the protagonist is flawed. She attempts to manipulate The Misfit to escape her death. Such behavior is rooted in her personal religious beliefs. Being blinded by her Christian faith, the grandmother’s perception of good and evil is skewed. The Misfit is a negative character who is sinful and immoral. However, the grandmother is incapable of seeing that, and she keeps stating that he is a good person throughout the conversation.
It can be seen as manipulation, even if the grandmother sincerely believes that The Misfit is not an evil person. After realizing that she will probably die, the protagonist begs the antagonist to take her money to save her own life. The grandmother behaves this way, not because of her kindness. Instead, it is a selfish act that is a result of her utter desperation.
This ambiguous behavior is the exact reason it is hard to grasp the meaning of her last words. She states that The Misfit is one of her children. It might be seen as a deceiving phrase and a final act of hopeless manipulation. Later, The Misfit tells that the grandmother would be a good woman if her life was constantly endangered. It means that at her final moment of existence, she reached true Christian enlightenment. She learned to treat others, even those who she fears, with empathy.
The grandmother’s flaws are masked with the image of a faithful Christian. This image guides her existence. However, her personal beliefs are superficial. She cannot comprehend her own weaknesses and see the behaviors of others for what they truly are. For this reason, she views The Misfit as a good person. Still, she can finally achieve epiphany seconds before her death.