Do good men really exist? A good man really is hard to find. But what is the real definition of a good man? Maybe it is not just the prince charming you see in fairy tales or the perfect guy walking down Sixth Ave. that you pass by everyday on your way to work. Maybe a good guy is simply a man that is good at what he does. “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” by Flannery O’Connor uses many different tactics to portray the south in the 1950’s. O’Connor incorporates her style, themes, and point of view to tell a story of a family outing gone wrong. The story involves a grandmother, her only son and his wife, and their two bratty children, June Star and John Wesley. On their way to Florida, the grandmother convinces the family to detour to see an old plantation house, and while heading towards their destination, the car overturns and the family thinks they are rescued by a passerby until the grandmother recognizes him as the escaped murderer, The Misfit. O’Connor includes characterization, symbolism, and foreshadowing. The characterization shows the breaking down of respect and discipline in American Society. From past generations to present generations, this message can be understood. The grandmother is a classic old southern woman, who is eccentric and who may come off as a racist. However, the woman may not be racist, but rather just too naïve and too set in her ways to deal with the changes present at the time. She is also a very well rounded and dynamic character. She explores various characteristics and reveals various remarks as they story progresses. Characterization is explored not only through the incident at Red Sammy’s, but also through the children, John Wesley and June Star. The father, Bailey, tends to ignore the grandmother, and has failed to teach his children respect and manners. The family is driving along the highway when the grandmother reveals the old plantation house with its secret panels, an acute diversion to make the children want to detour and visit the house.
The children began to yell and scream that they wanted to see the house with the secret panel. John Wesley kicked the back of the front seat and June Star hung over her mother’s shoulder and whined desperately into her ear that they never had any fun even on their vacation, they could never do what they wanted to do. The baby began to scream and John Wesley kicked the back of the seat so hard that his father could feel the blows in his kidney. (431)
The children are so obnoxious and have so little regard for their elders or themselves, that even in the event of the accident, the children are only excited, and rather disappointed with the outcome. The children have no respect for anyone. It is ridiculous to think that the type of behavior displayed by the children would be acceptable, and furthermore rewarded with what they were asking for. The father gives in and detours towards the old plantation house and in such reinforces the children’s horrid behavior by giving them what they want which is the house with the secret panel. O’Connor illuminates the setting with such vivid and life like characterizations. O’Conner wants the reader to feel angry towards the bratty children and understand the importance of their lack of respect for their elders. In the article, “Secular Meaning in ‘A Good Man Is Hard To Find’,” Stanley Renner suggests the grandmother is capable of sympathetic emotions.
O’Connor grants her a dim awareness of her manipulation of reality in “not telling the truth but wishing she were.” She is capable of sympathetic concern for animals, pickaninnies, and adults—as when she volunteers to spell Bailey’s wife in tending the baby during the long hours on the road. (N.Pag)
It is extremely hard for a person to look past the grandmother’s tactics of manipulation, lies, and deceitful ways to see a truly sympathetic person. Renner suggests that the grandmother isn’t an evil person, but is someone who has a…