Analysis of A Good Man is Hard to Find

Essay by juneangel26College, UndergraduateA, March 2008

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Analysis of A Good Man is Hard to Find Salvation is a Choice In Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the gruesome ending comes as quite a shock. However, upon a second reading, signs of an ominous end permeate the work. Hints of the family’s tragic finale exist throughout the plot and are brought to fruition with the first murder of the grandmother’s son, Bailey. The tale contains pervasive images of death which foreshadow the ultimate demise of the nameless family at the hands of the malicious Misfit and his two henchmen. O’Connor’s writing is filled with meaning and symbolism, hidden in plain sight beneath a seamless narrative style. In this way, her writing is intrinsically esoteric, in that it contains knowledge that is hidden to all but those who have been instructed as to how and where to look for it. O’Connor is a Christian writer, and her work is message-oriented, yet she is far too brilliant a stylist to tip her hand.

Like all good writers, tactless tendencies are repulsive to her. Nevertheless, she achieves what no Christian writer has ever achieved before: A type of writing that stands up on both literary and the religious grounds, and succeeds in doing justice to both. The symbolism of The Misfit as the fallen sinner and the grandmother’s role as a typical Christian struggling within human nature to live her beliefs oppose each other. The grandmother’s ability to have faith in Christ as son of God and his works juxtaposes The Misfit’s lack of faith and hopelessness and foreshadows his choice not to be “saved”. “It ain’t right I wasn’t there because if I had of been there I would of known” (O’Connor A Good Man 249).

O’Connor’s portrayal of the grandmother as...