Some elements of the story: Regionalism Strong Characterization Humor Catholic Perspective Southern Gothic/Grotesque
The Setting: Place Today's starting point? Atlanta. Destination? Florida. The familys journey to Florida takes them along the highways of the 1950s, including country roads. The following images can give you a better idea of highway and country road travel. The highways and rural roads would have been similar to those described in "A Good Man is Hard to Find."
The Characters Grandmother Mother Bailey John Wesley June Star Red Sammy The Misfit
What does the grandmother's use of derogatory words suggest about the racial views she holds? What does the grandmother mean when she says, "In my time" at the beginning of this passage? Are the events in the story her fault? What motivates her (moral code)? The Grandmother: Victim or Villain?
The Misfit: Villain or Victim? On the killing of his father: "It was a head doctor who said what I had done was kill my daddy but I known that for a lie. On comparing himself to Jesus: "It was the same case with Him as with me except He hadn't committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me. On punishment:"Does it seem right to you, lady, that one is punished a heap and another ain't punished at all?" and later, I call myself The Misfit because I cant make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment. On manners: Im sorry I dont have on a shirt before you ladies. What is his motivation/moral code? Reread his speeches.
The story's title suggests a journey or quest to "find" a "good man." The journey ends with the grandmother trying to save herself by trying to "save" the Misfit. Who is saved in this story? The Journey
OConnor on GRACE and GROTESQUE What is GRACE? …in my own stories I have found that violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace." "In my stories a reader will find that the devil accomplishes a good deal of groundwork that seems to be necessary before grace is effective."
Discuss possible themes. What point does the story make about: Good vs. Evil Faith vs. Doubt Old vs. New Ways as seen in the Family Old vs. New South Is there such a thing as a good man?
She would have been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life. Why do you think they say this?! Why youre one of my babies. Youre one of my own children.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "A Good Man is Hard to Find Themes" Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. Clark, Beverly. Flannery OConnor. 18 April 2012. Web.Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find": Who's the Real Misfit? Edsitement. National Endowment for the Humanities. Web. 19 Apr. 2012.