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Themes Of "A Good Man Is Hard To Find"

1159 words - 5 pages

In" A Good Man is Hard to Find" there are a variety of themes. The themes in this short story are: the grace of the grandmother and The Misfit, the vague definition of a “good man”, and the class of the grandmother. All of these themes are apparent to any reader, but it does not quite seem to match O’Connor’s depth style way of writing. The two characters, the Grandmother and the Misfit change from beginning to end. Even though they are both different as night and day, they both have principles and stand by their principles no matter what the circumstance.
In the short story, “The Good Man Is Hard to Find” the grandmother describes a “good man” vaguely. The grandmother pertains the label “good” broadly, putting a shadow over the definition of a “good man” until it loses its meaning completely. She first applies it to Red Sammy after he furiously complains of the universal untrustworthiness of people. Red Sammy states, “Two fellers come in here last week, driving a Chrysler. It was an old beat-up car but it was a good one and these boys looked all right to me. Said they worked at the mill and you know I let them charge the gas they bought? Now why did I do that?” (1,045). The grandmother said he did this because he is “a good man.” She next relates the label “good” to the Misfit. After she identifies him, the grandmother asks, “You wouldn’t shoot a lady, would you?” (1,049). Even though he hates to admit it, The Misfit says, “I would hate to have to” (1,049). Because being a lady is such a meaningful part of what the grandmother believes as being ethical, the Misfit’s answer confirms to her that he does not share the same moral principles as she does. The grandmother begins to desperately call him a good man and that he comes from nice people. The Misfit did not deny that he came from nice people. He states, “God never made a finer woman than my mother and my daddy’s heart was pure gold” (1,049). Her definition of a “good man,” is ambiguous because she believes a man is a “good man” if his beliefs are integrated with her own. In addition to her first definition she seems to forget unwariness, poor judgment, and blind faith, none of which are intrinsically “good.” Red Sammy is “good” because he trusts people instinctively and ponders about the once acquitted times; both of which the grandmother can relate to. The grandmother believes The Misfit is “good” because he will not shoot a lady, which is a denial in her faith to keep her moral principles. Her theory proves to be false. The only thing “good” about the Misfit is his uniformity in living out his moral cipher of there is no pleasure but meanness in life.
Grace, an important theme to O'Connor, is specified to both The Grandmother and The Misfit, suggesting that even people like the grandmother and The Misfit have the likelihood to be saved by God. The grandmother, motivated by the Misfit’s wish to know for sure what Jesus did and did not do, experiences a instant of grace when her head...

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