In “Good Man is Hard to Find” the main character of the story is a grandmother. At first she seems to be a usual grandmother who still thinks that her son is a little boy and he has to do what she wants him, even thought he is a grown up man. She wants to be right all the time and she knows everything. When you look closer she becomes very selfish, pushy and manipulative person. From the first page of the story you can see that she would do anything to make everything go her way and to prove she is right. Grandmother is determined to make her son and his family to go on vacation to Tennessee rather than Florida. “She wanted to visit some of her connections in east Tennessee and she was seizing at every chance to change Bailey’s mind”(O’Connor 451). To accomplish this she uses the article in a newspaper about escaped prisoner by the name Misfit as one of her manipulative techniques. Grandmother is very noisy and likes to be the center of everyone’s attention. Even though she didn’t want to go to Florida she was the first one sitting in a car next morning.
The way she acts, thinks and dresses up shows us that she is an old fashion woman “Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she ha pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dean on the highway would know at once that she was a lady”. On the way to Florida, as they stop to get some food she’s having a conversation with Red Sam- an owner of restaurant about old times, how nice it used to be back in a day, and how everything changed. The way she talks about it just prove us that she doesn’t’ live in the present, but in the past. She has old views in a new world. “People are certainly not nice like they used to be” “He and the grandmother discussed better times. The old lady said that in her opinion Europe was entirely to blame for the way things were now.”
It is grandmother’s selfishness that leads them to the death. “She knew that Bailey would not be willing to lose any time looking at an old house, but the more she talked about it, the she wanted to see it once again and find out if the little twin arbors were still standing””(O’Connor 455). She is the one who insisted on turning back to see the old plantation. Once again it shows how self-centered and selfish she is. When they meet with Misfit, grandmother is the one who recognizes him. If she was smart enough to be quite Misfit probably would let them go. Grandmother tries to use her manipulative techniques on him but it doesn’t help. It looks like he i enjoys seeing her begging for own life. She is trying to save herself by pleading to Misfit “You’ve got good blood!
I know you wouldn’t shoot a lady! I know you come from nice people! Pray! Jesus, you ought not to shot a lady. I’ll give you all the money I’ve got!”(O’Connor 461). All the talking that she does has no affect on him. As she contemplates her fate she reaches out for God and forgiveness. Misfit brings out the best of grandmother. She is finally showing care for someone other than herself. At the end, she reaches out to the Misfit and tells him “You’re one of my own children” (O’Connor 462). He shrinks from it and kills her saying that she would have been a good woman if she had a gun pointed to her head all the time.
Throughout this entire story the grandmother is very manipulative, selfish and better than anybody else person. In the final moment of her life she actually sees beyond herself even though it is too late.