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An Evil Man Is Easy To Find Identifying Evil In Flannery O’connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”

2454 words - 10 pages

Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, is a tale about a grandmother who unknowingly steers her family to a fatal meeting with a fugitive. The chance encounter with the murderous fugitive ultimately costs the grandmother and her family their lives. Sticking with the Southern Gothic genre, O’Connor takes odd characters and mixes in dark encounters to produce a story packed full of hidden meanings and foreshadowing (Language and Literature, 2). At first glance, it seems easy to identify the character that represents evil in the story, the murderous outlaw. However, things are not always, what they seem; a closer look will reveal that the murder might not be the evilest ...view middle of the document...

The family beats down the grandmother’s suggestion as if they are used to her making suggestions that only reflect her own desires and paints the picture that the family no longer considers anything the grandmother suggests. Comments such as the following reflect the contempt the family feels towards the grandmother.
John Wesley the eldest boy responds to his grandmother’s request by saying "If you don't want to go to Florida, why dontcha stay at home?" (O’Connor, 3). His sister June responds a few lines later by insinuating that her grandmother would not stay home because in her opinion her grandmother would be “Afraid she'd miss something. She has to go everywhere we go" (O’Connor, 7).
The family members discount and disrespect the grandmother either through sarcasm or by ignoring her (Hendricks, 204). While not “evil”, it demonstrates a lack of respect and consideration between the family and the grandmother. The sentiment of contempt is not lopsided, but mutually occurring. The children and their parent disrespect the grandmother, but the grandmother also seems to be attempting to manipulate the family to suit her own desires.
The story moves on and the road trip to Florida, not Tennessee as suggested by the grandmother, is underway. While the grandmother rejected the idea of going to Florida, she is the first person in the car to start the trip and makes a point to dress well in order to represent herself as a “lady” in case she happens to die in a traffic accident. While it might seem like the grandmother has finally agreed to the trip she is actively deceiving her family, she has smuggled her cat into the car for the trip, because she was fearful that the cat might die if left alone. She again does not consider her family’s wishes or the issues caused by bringing the cat on the trip, she just hides it in one of her bags and does not tell anyone.
Over the course of the road trip the grandmother converses with her two eldest grandchildren, John and June. She makes racial comments about an African American child and how her grandchildren do not respect their heritage. Comments such as this one, “Little riggers in the country don't have things like we do. If I could paint, I'd paint that picture” shows the sense of judgment and righteousness she views herself possessing (O’Connor, 20). Her comments continue and allude to a belief about how things used to be better, and how people were better in the good old days and wish for things to return to how they once were. She even goes as far as wishing she were able to be able to paint, so she could capture these good old days in an attempt to relive them. While the comment and the words used are outdated by today’s standards, it shows that she has never embraced the modern way of things, and again is more concerned with herself and her viewpoints, than that of her family members.
As the trip continues they stop at a restaurant and met a couple of characters and the grandmother has a discussion...

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