Response to "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor

by Bas Hoppenreijs
(Diana, Texas)

Original Text: Response to "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor


A Good Grandmother is Hard to Find
In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O'Connor, the grandmother is facing the problem of having to adjust to the rapidly changing world and the people living in it. She often dwells on the past and recollects how much better it was in the old days. She doesn't take the responsibility for the troubles her actions cause the family. Instead, she just blames all their troubles on the changing world. In this way, the grandmother is even more of a misfit than the criminals that killed her.
The grandmother spends so much time trying to convince everyone that the old days are better that she doesn't even realize the damage she does to every situation. She attempts to divert the family vacation to Tennessee by coming up with crazed fantasies of a “fellow that calls himself The Misfit aloose from the federal pen” (O'Connor 367) finding them in Florida . Then, as it turns out, through more of her actions, the family's eventual demise occurs in the described manner. “People are certainly not nice like they used to be”, (370) she would argue. As we know, however, the grandmother's behavior is essentially the root of the family's predicament.
At a time where people were just beginning to perceive African Americans as equals, the grandmother still has the idea that black race is inferior. During their trip the grandmother spots a young, black boy and cries, ”Oh look at the cute pickaninny!”(368) Then furthers her derogatory comment by saying, ”Little niggers in the country don't have things like we do.”(368) She is very obviously a racist. This is a time in history where racism was no longer socially accepted. The grandmother is a misfit with society's thinking at the time.
As the story continues, the realization that the grandmother is extremely selfish comes forward. She has this idea that she is worth more than the people around her. When confronting The Misfit, she keeps shouting, “You wouldn't shoot a lady, would you?”(373) You would think that with the kids there she would be more concerned about their safety. It sounded like The Misfit was going to let them all go until the old lady just had to shout, “You're The Misfit! I recognized you at once!”(373) Then she continued on about, “You don't look like you have common blood.” (373) and, “I just know you're a good man.”(374) I think she has this superiority complex that makes her value herself above even her own family.
While she may mean well, the grandmother causes destruction every step of the way on this poor family's road trip. She causes the detour, the accident, and perhaps even the death of the entire family. She truly was a misfit with society and had issues with the changing world.

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Revised Text:

A Good Grandmother is Hard to Find

In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O'Connor, the grandmother is facing the problem of having to adjust to the rapidly changing world and the people living in it. She often dwells on the past and recollects how much better it was in the old days. She doesn't take responsibility for the troubles her actions cause the family. Instead, she just blames all their troubles on the changing world. In this way, the grandmother is even more of a misfit than the criminals that killed her.

The grandmother spends so much time trying to convince everyone that the old days are better that she doesn't even realize the damage she does to every situation. She attempts to divert the family vacation to Tennessee by coming up with crazed fantasies of a “fellow that calls himself The Misfit aloose from the federal pen” (O'Connor 367) finding them in Florida. Then, as it turns out, through more of her actions, the family's eventual demise occurs in the predicted manner. “People are certainly not nice like they used to be”, (370) she would argue. As we know, however, the grandmother's behavior is essentially the root of the family's predicament.

At a time when people were just beginning to perceive African Americans as equals, the grandmother still had the idea that black race was inferior. During their trip, the grandmother spots a young, black boy and cries, ”Oh look at the cute pickaninny!”(368) She then furthers her derogatory comment by saying, ”Little niggers in the country don't have things like we do.”(368) She is very obviously a racist. This was at a time in history when racism was no longer socially accepted. The grandmother was a "misfit" with society's thinking at the time.

As the story continues, the realization that the grandmother is extremely selfish comes forward. She has this idea that she is worth more than the people around her. When confronting The Misfit, she keeps shouting, “You wouldn't shoot a lady, would you?”(373) You would think that, with the kids there, she would be more concerned about their safety. It sounded like The Misfit was going to let them all go until the old lady just had to shout, “You're The Misfit! I recognized you at once!”(373) She then continued on about, “You don't look like you have common blood.” (373) and, “I just know you're a good man.”(374) I think she had this superiority complex that made her value herself above even her own family.

While she may have meant well, the grandmother caused destruction every step of the way on this poor family's road trip. She caused the detour, the accident, and perhaps even the death of the entire family. She truly was a misfit with society and had issues with the changing world.

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