Saturday, September 27, 2008

"A Good Man is Hard to Find"

Our class discussion of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” centered around the moment of clarity experienced by the grandmother. Throughout the rest of the story, a related theme emerged. O’Connor, a religious author, seems to be rather critical of Christians who do not put their beliefs into action. The grandmother was a prime example of a Christian who did not live her beliefs. From what the reader experiences, the grandmother is rather selfish and values how she appears as a Christian more than how she acts as a Christian. This aspect of the grandma is evidenced by the way she dresses in the car. She wears a hat and a navy blue dress when they are riding in a car, which seems quite unnecessary. “In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (172).

Not only is the grandmother a prime example of a hypocritical Christian; the upcoming generations also are straying from O’Connor’s definition of a true Christian. Throughout the trip, the grandchildren show utter disrespect for the grandmother. In addition, Bailey treats his own mother with contempt. The Misfit himself is an example of the next generation’s struggles. “When he smiled he showed a row of strong white teeth. ‘God never made a finer woman than my mother and daddy’s heart was pure gold,’ he said” (177). A cold-blooded killer came from a seemingly picture-perfect family. I believe that O’Connor is expressing her concern over the future generations, as they seem to be straying from living actively as Christians. There were no characters in the story who exemplified a true Christian who lived what they believed. This is why a good man is hard to find, and will be hard to find in future generations.

1 comment:

Barry said...

What about Grandma's apparent moment of epiphany? Could she have suddenly have seen the light and maternally embraced the Misfit as Jesus to her Mother Mary character (at the end, at least)?