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A Good Man is Hard to Find

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1 A Good Man is Hard to Find
By Flannery O’connor (first published in 1953)

2 Flannery O’connor (1925-1964)
American author Born in Savannah, Georgia Bible belt Catholic background Attended Georgia State College for women

3 Flannery O’connor
Wrote in Southern gothic tradition Combined comic with tragic and brutal Was profoundly influenced by the spiritual nature of the region in which she lived

4 Find evidence of each type.
Types of Conflict Plot Person vs. person Person vs. self Person vs. God Person vs. Nature Find evidence of each type. Vs. self—Grandmother realizes the house she remembers was in Tennessee. Vs. Others—Grandmother always seems to be pitted against the family members and finally the Misfit. The children manipulate their parents and are rude to the owners of The Tower. The whole family is murdered by the Misfit’s boys. Vs. God—The Misfit rejects God and is struggling with this even as he talks with Grandmother. Vs. Nature—The cat surprises Bailey Boy. Mistaken directions to Grandmother’s remembered house. The deserted landscape allows the crime to occur.

5 Movement of Events Exposition Complication Climax Denouement
Family discusses trip to Florida. Children are rude and cynical. Grandmother doesn’t want to go. Complication The Tower Restaurant June Star is rude. Discussion of “The Misfit” Title line occurs. Climax The murders Grandmother’s and Misfit’s epiphanies Denouement “It’s no real pleasure in life.”

6 Natural Setting —both friendly and hostile
Georgia roadside Stone Mountain sparkling trees child waving private cemetery with 5 or 6 graves moderate temperature deserted back road outside Toomsboro woods

7 Man-made Setting Both friendly and hostile
The family’s house Arguing goes on there between children and Grandmother. The car Stories from Grandmother and fighting of children The accident The Tower Restaurant Filling station/dance hall Outside Timothy, Georgia “Tennessee Waltz” Monkey

8 Major Characters Characterization
Protagonist = Grandmother (developing) Dresses like a lady Values orderliness Is practical Forgetful Tells stories Is good-hearted Believes in Jesus Gives and receives grace in the end Antagonist = The Misfit (developing) Looks like a scholar Is driving a hearse Polite Speculative Rejects Christ Perceives and rejects grace Loses pleasure in meanness

9 Minor Characters Spiritually undeveloped Hiram and Bobby Lee Red Sammy
Bailey Boy Easily manipulated Wears parrot shirt His wife Remains unnamed Resembles a rabbit or cabbage John Wesley and June Star The children Disrespectful to adults Hiram and Bobby Lee The Misfit’s boys Red Sammy Owns Barbecue Laments lack of goodness in people Red Sammy’s wife Remains unnamed Polite Distrustful of husband Have students find support for these traits in the text.

10 “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
Title and Pt. of View “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Title Refers to every person’s need for grace. Note similarity between “Good Man” and “Young Goodman Brown.” Point of View Third person limited through Grandmother’s eyes Relate this back to the title of “Young Goodman Brown.” The theme of distrust is replicated here, but is resolved in the end. In Hawthorne, it is never resolved.

11 Major and minor symbols abound.
Symbolism Major and minor symbols abound. Names of people and places John Wesley Major religious figure Wrote and preached about grace Red Sammy Devil figure Sees only evil in mankind Lack of names in some Most of the men and boys have names but no women except for June Star. The Misfit Rejects social and moral norms Toomsboro Foreshadows death of family I don’t know why June Star alone of all the women is named. Have the class speculate on this.

12 Other Symbols Animals Monkey Cat Parrot and rabbit
a symbol for the devil and many vices Cat also associated with the diabolical Clings to Bailey “like a caterpillar” Signifying transformation? Rubs against Misfit Parrot and rabbit Bailey Boy and wife both passive and irresolute

13 More Symbols The Color Red Physical positions Bailey Boy Red Sammy
In sprint position but doesn’t move Leans against a “gray, naked pine trunk Cross image? Is Bailey transformed at the end in his confrontation with death? Cat clings to his neck Bailey is always acted upon But this could ironically be the act that saves him The Color Red Red Sammy Devil image Bobby Lee’s red shirt Misfit’s red eyes and ankles brutality Evil impotence

14 Other Symbols Physical Positions (cont.) Foreshadowing Snake image
Grandmother Begins by looking down on Misfit drops hat resignation Dies smiling and looking up In a state of grace Foreshadowing Cemetery with 5 or 6 graves “Woods gaped like a dark mouth” Snake image “sprang back as though a snake had bitten him”

15 The need for and availability of grace
Theme The need for and availability of grace Like Hawthorne, O’connor explores the evil nature of mankind. But for her, although evil abounds, grace does as well. Every person needs grace. Every person can have it.

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