One of the most memorable lines from “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” comes from the Misfit when he says, “She would have been a good woman if it had been someone there to shoot her for every minute of her life (O’Connor 309).” Flannery O’Connor’s depiction of Christian faith can be seen in almost all of her works. Inevitably, the plots in all of O’Connor’s stories end with a shocking conclusion, and this leaves the reader with freedom to interpret the central idea. From the endless list of themes that O’Connor embeds into her stories, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” is largely influenced by divine grace, hypocrisy, bitter reality, and white supremacy.
The feeling of white supremacy can be repeatedly seen in O’Connor’s writing, including “A Good Man Is Hard To Find.” Although it is a little difficult to decide if the Grandmother is racist because of her disguised formal style of speech, there are moments in the story raise questions about her moral attitude towards blacks. For example, when she narrates the watermelon story, she degrades the reputation of black people by saying “because a nigger boy ate it” and doesn’t consider anyone else to be responsible for such an act (O’Connor 301). In the comment is she stereotyping black people as the scapegoats for all matters, like they did in the slavery period? Or is it to “highlight the white Southerner’s popular belief that the black Southerner loves watermelon?” as Whitt believes in his book, Understanding Flannery O’Connor. Her racist remark certainly shines a light on how biased all of her comments are because secretly the watermelon story is a real account of her life. She calls the woman in the story a “maiden” and uses words like “courted” to show the elegant lifestyle of whites, specifically herself, but not once in the story does she compliment blacks (O’Connor 301).
It becomes easier to that the Grandmother is definitely racist as the story continues and when the car passes by “the old family burying ground.” Is it really important for her to emphasize that the graveyard belonged to a plantation (O’Connor 301)? No, it’s just a way for her to prove how whites had more power than blacks back in the twentieth century. When she is exposed to nostalgic elements of her genteel past such as an abandoned plantation that “had six white columns across the front” and was once owned by whites, it is clearly visible how difficult it is for the Grandmother to cope with the world she now lives in (O’Connor 303). Her longing to desperately revive the past is so strong that “…the more she talked about it, the more she wanted to see it once again” (Enjolras 37). Symbols like the plantation are reminders to her of the South that she used to enjoy as a child “…when whites were the masters and the blacks their slaves by right” (Enjolras 37). She is now part of a racially infused South, where the oppressed African-Americans are improving their lifestyle and living amongst whites.
This is not the only instance...