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A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor

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Client’s xx May A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor A disconnected family of obnoxious and ungrateful adults with their wild and uncontrollable children on their way to Florida for a vacation is depicted in Flannery O’Connor’s short fiction “A Good Man is Hard to Find. ” On their route they encounter an accident and met a dangerous felon who eventually brings them to their death. As they forced to face their own mortality, the grandmother tries to find some goodness in the murderer in an attempt to postpone her own death and consequent Judgment.

In the story, the aptly named character of “The Misfit” serves as a symbol both of evil as well as a symbol of the villain’s inability to fit into society. The family also represents a bunch of misfits as demonstrated through their ungratefulness and disregard for other’s emotions. The mother ignores her children except for her baby; the children have no qualms about littering and talking back to adults. The family is living without really being aware of the fact that life is precious.

The vacation that the family is taking also has symbolic significance as a journey away from their familiar surroundings. The fact that the family is going further South might be indicative of the direction they are heading in the afterlife. Even their stop along the way at Red Sam’s resembles a place of purgatory. The grandmother revisits moments of her life as the family drives along on their way to Florida and is the only family member who seems to learn anything on the road of life. When it comes to the historical background of the story, Flannery O’Connor takes special care in presenting the differences between the old generation of Southern gentility and the current (1950’s) generation, which is more abrasive and fast-paced.

Stephen Bandy in his review of O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find indicates that a personal history is explored as the grandmother reflects on plantation homes, unpaved roads and formal clothing while riding with her son and his young family on a highway to the trendy vacation spot of Florida (110). This is true as the grandmother appears to be struggling with the changes occurring throughout the time period.

These changes are reflected in her children and grandchildren. In the 1950s, the population was growing and expansion of cities and suburbs was occurring across the country while farmland began to decrease. The advent of rock n’ roll music fed the desire of the nation’s young people to rebel against their parents’ traditional values.

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