Good and Evil in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
Characters are important to any story. Without good characters, the story is not as interesting. There are many characters to focus on within the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor. In order to analyze characters, focusing on the Grandmother and the Misfit allows you to get to know them better and see that good and bad character traits can alternate between both the protagonist and antagonist.
The grandmother, our protagonist in the story, was much easier to focus on because there was a bit more information about her in the story. The grandmother seemed to be controlling and always wanted things her way. She wanted everyone to listen to her, no matter what she was talking about. This is why she repeatedly spoke with her grandchildren and insisted on telling them stories. She wanted everything to be about her which is why she made sure that the family changed their vacation destination from Florida to Tennessee. She is also extremely conscientious about what people think of her. She focuses too much on what a person looks like on his or her exterior rather than focusing on a person’s personality. Her goal is to be perfect all the time and not do anything wrong, thus preventing herself from disgracing herself or her family. Because of the previous character traits, when they are combined, a part of me felt like she was disrespectful and bossy towards her family. She also had strong faith in God because she was Christian. Even though she seemed like a strong woman, she had one fear and that was her son. She never wanted her son to be mad at her. This shows her reliance on him. The Grandmother, in my opinion, is an unlikable character. She is manipulative towards her family right from the start so that she can get her way. On page 430, she shares the story of the Misfit in order to convince her son that they should avoid vacationing in Florida. She then continues with her manipulation when the children do not want to heed her suggestion of changing vacation spots by telling the children “…what would you do if this fellow, The Misfit, caught you?” (430). She will go to any lengths, even scaring her grandchildren, in order to get the vacation she desires. This is the trait of a conniving and manipulating woman.
The Misfit, our antagonist in the story, seemed to be the polar opposite of the Grandmother. He did not care what people thought about him or what he looked like. His main goal was that he simply did not want to be recognized as the escaped criminal everyone was looking for. He was not religious and did not believe in praying. The ironic thing, however, is that even though he killed the grandmother, he was respectful in the way he spoke with her. Though the Misfit is seen as an evil murder, I believe him to be the more likable character. The fact that he’s the antagonistic murderer in the story does not hinder my opinion of him at all. One extremely likable characteristic...