The Power Of Good And Evil in Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find
Good and bad. Right and wrong. Guilty and Innocent. These are just a few of the many themes that surround everyone's life. Everyone has their own opinion about certain issues, and they depend on their values, judgment, and beliefs to see them through their difficulties. Flannery O'Connor was quoted as saying "I see from the standpoint of Christian orthodoxy. This means the meaning of life is centered in our Redemption by Christ and that what I see in the world I see in relation to that" (Contemporary Authors 402). These themes are present in O'Connor's story "A Good Man is Hard to Find." The story is about a grandmother, a "good" woman who goes on vacation with her son and his family and suffers terribly due to her poor judgement, and beliefs, but learns the true meaning of "good" in the face of something "bad."
The grandmother lives with her only son, Bailey, his wife and their children. The beginning of the story the grandmother is preparing to take a trip with her son?s family to Florida; a place where she doesn?t even want to go. She wants the whole family to go to Tennessee to visit relatives (O?Connor 907).This is the first example of the egocentric ways that lead her to her demise. She wants to uproot the whole family ,only for her benefit. She also does not want to go to Florida because there is a escaped convict, an evil man, on the loose. She says, "The Misfit is aloose from the Federal Pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to those people" (O?Connor 907). Critic Richard Spivey explains the use of violence in O?Connor?s work: "O?Connor dealt with violent and grotesque people because "man has in his soul a powerful destructive element, which often makes him behave in a violent and grotesque manner. . . . Her writing is about the existential struggle with the principle of destruction traditionally called the Devil" (Contemporary Authors 403).
The day of the trip Grandma is the first packed and ready to go. She does not want to leave the cat because as she says, "he would miss her too much" (O?Connor 907). This comment would suggest that the grandmother thinks highly of herself and is believes she is the most important person in the family. While everyone else is in comfortable travel clothes, Grandma is dressed formally. She had on a "navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim and a navy dress with a small white dot in the print" (O?Connor 907).
Both incidents are prime examples that show the grandmother?s behavior. We see that the grandmother is selfish and uncaring. She claims that she is a "good" person, yet she criticizes everyone and always wants to get her way. She hides the cat and lies about it to her son; she did not consider how anyone would feel about her bringing the cat. Yet, on the other hand she is very concerned with social opinion. She is dressed nicely, her excuse...