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Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” Essay Sample

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Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” Essay Sample

Important Aspects In “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” In “A Good Man Is Hard To Find,” Flannery O’Connor hints that the story will involve coincidence. She tells us in the opening paragraph that the grandmother has second thoughts about traveling to Florida for a vacation because she has a bad feeling about a loose Misfit she had read about in a news article. This foreshadows the trouble to come, and coincidence advances the plot in the direction of this trouble.

The grandmother’s concerns about the trip foreshadow the events in the story. When the family decides to take a trip to Florida, the grandmother shows her worry about a Misfit heading their way. She believes the family should vacation to Tennessee, where she can visit some of her connections. She tells Bailey “the children have been to Florida before” (328). Either way, the grandmother was going to go on the trip, but she was not going alone. The grandmother brought along her cat without her son Bailey knowing about it. “She didn’t intend for the cat to be left alone in the house for three days because he would miss her too much and she was afraid he might brush against one of the gas burners and accidentally asphyxiate himself” (329).

Her concerns about the cat later haunted her as the family decided to take a detour from their trip. The grandmother informed the family about an old plantation that she once visited when she was a young lady. With the displeasure of Bailey, they decided to visit the plantation. As the family made their way down a dirt road, the grandmother realized that they were in the wrong state. Remembering this, her feet jumped, and the cat suddenly jumped up and sprang onto Bailey’s shoulder. “The children were thrown to the floor and their mother, clutching the baby, was thrown out the door onto the ground” (333). The cat had unexpectedly caused the accident.

The coincidentally family detour caused the family to fall upon the Misfit. The grandmother informed the family about an old plantation she had visited as a young lady. “She said the house had six white columns across the front and that there was an avenue of oaks leading up to it and two little wooden trellis arbors on either side in front where you sat down with your suitor after a stroll in the garden” (332). She mentioned that there was a secret panel in the house. She thought this would influence the kids into going to the plantation. Bailey proceeded to go to the house. The grandmother told him the directions, and led him down a dirt road. Coincidentally, the road was in the wrong state. The cat jumped and caused an accident, an accident that could have been prevented. The grandmother had caused the accident, and that mistake was the reason the family ran into the Misfit. After all the anxiety the grandmother had shown before the trip, her detour would eventually lead her family to death.

When the family stumbles upon the misfit, the grandmother and the Misfit coincidentally show chemistry between them. When the Misfit finds the family on the side of the road, the grandmother quickly realizes who the Misfit is. She remembered him from the article she had read before they left on the trip. The grandmother’s reaction to the Misfit appears to show an acquaintance. The grandmother talks to him about religion and his feelings about Jesus. She tries to convince the Misfit that Jesus can help him through life, and he will forgive him for any wrongdoing. The grandmother’s relationship with the Misfit seems to be very ironic. In the beginning of the story, the grandmother voices her opinion about the Misfit. She appeared to be very fearful and optimistic about the trip, however when she finally meets the Misfit, she seems to talk to him, as if he was a friend. Her fear of the Misfit disappears when she reaches out and touched him on the shoulder. The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest (338). Coincidence turned to death.

As a result of the grandmother’s encounter with the Misfit, she appears to open a element of faith. The violence forces her to acknowledge the mystery of spiritual reality, the realm of faith that is hidden behind her world of lady-like appearance. It seems ironic when she asks the Misfit to pray, but it is still a step toward her recognition of him as a spiritual member of her family. “You’re one of my babies,” she says (338). That moment of grace suspends the action under a bizarre sky that hangs over the murdered bodies, perhaps a moment for the reader to reflect on the phrase “A Good Man Is Hard To Find.” The Misfit’s unexpected comment on the grandmother is a last ironic reminder of the uniqueness of this quote. “She would have been a good woman,” the Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every
minute of her life” (339).

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