A Good Man Is Hard to Find Abstract Flannels Schooner’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, is an intriguing story of a typical American family from the mid-20th century who set out on a vacation to Florida. The reader is taken on a journey along with the family meeting new people and learning of events that unfold before them. However, after taking an unwanted turn down a winding road, the family comes face to face with a violent criminal. A family vacation turns awry. Despite her incurable terminal disease of Lupus, Flannels Conner was a fictional Southern writer who found short stories like this to be comical yet serious.
O’Connor was raised Roman Catholic, and at times found ways to incorporate religion into her stories. Within this short story, O’Connor used a feminist style of writing. Gender roles are contrasted and very distinct. Often times, she used foreshadowing to set off clues to the reader of what might happen next or even later in the story. Moreover, O’Connor was a brilliant writer depicting scenes of grotesque, deformity, or mutilation most likely that had arisen from her own fight with her lifelong terminal illness. A Good Man IS Hard to Find 1 955) Flannels O’Connor born in Georgia and a strong believer in her Roman
Catholic faith has been known to write short stories in such a way to send her readers a hidden message. Most of her messages are not clear right away, but in her writings she always conveys an underlying meaning. She would tend to associate most of her work to a “Southern Gothic” style and incorporate many of her short stories around the south that one might relate to (Kennedy & Tioga, 201 3, Chi. 10). O’Connor is known for writing short stories based on a feminist style of writing which is quite clear. She orientates the men to be strong and assertive, and the women to be weak and submissive.
O’Connor also uses an abundance of foreshadowing effects within this story’. Us m Mary “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannels O’Connor (1955), began With a family who was preparing for a vacation to Florida. The grandmother (an unnamed character) complained of the fore planned trip stating she would rather have visited her friends in east Tennessee. To help with her persuasion, she exclaimed of a serial killer by the name of Misfit who had escaped from the Federal Penitentiary and was on the loose headed towards Florida.
She even criticized the children’s mother (another unnamed hearted) for allowing such endangerment upon the family. Even the two elder children, John Wesley and June Star, who were reading the funny papers on the floor, made their comments to the grandmother stating that she should just stay at home. The grandmother’s only son Bailey, unmoved by her request, rejected her demands and continued to push forth the scheduled plans for the trip. The family began their journey to Florida the next morning.
During the ride they made remarks to everything they passed including a little Negro boy and a “large cotton field with five or six graves encode in the middle of it, like an island” (O’Connor, 1955). The grandmother told stories to the children of a man by the name of Mr.. Edgar Atkins Degrade from Jasper, Georgia; how he was a gentleman and would bring her a watermelon every Saturday with his initials carved in it. She ended the story stating she would have done well to marry such a fellow, as he bought stock in Coca-Cola in the early years, and died a wealthy man.
After driving a while, the family decided to make a pit stop at a diner known as The Tower, which is famous for their barbeques. Soon after enjoying a short dance on the once floor, the grandmother began to converse with the owner, Red Sammy Butts, about the whereabouts of the Misfit. Following a short lived conversation that was abruptly stopped by Red Sammy, they began to reminisce of the old times. “l remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched. Not no more” (O’Connor, 1955). The family set off again on the road to Florida.
After a few cat naps in the back seat, the grandmother woke up to remembering an old plantation she had visited at a young age which she believed to be in the area they were driving through. Bailey refused to take the detour, which in turn, caused the grandmother to come up with lies of hidden treasures to persuade him that it would be worth it. The children, who were now enthralled by the grandmother’s fabrications, began kicking, screaming, and pleading for their father to turn around. Agitated by the back seat passengers in his vehicle, Bailey finally gave in.
After turning around, he took a dirt road that appeared to have not been traveled on in months. After traveling a few miles, the grandmother began to realize that she had made a mistake. The plantation in her memory did not exist in Georgia, it exists in Tennessee. The moment she had this epiphany, she became startled in her seat, causing her cat to jump out of his box and on to Bailey. Bailey lost control of the vehicle and it flipped into a ditch. Soon after, they seen a “big black battered hearse-like automobile” (O’Connor, 1955) slowly rolling by, and proceeded to stop and help.
It contained three men, including the Misfit. The grandmother quickly recognized the Misfit, which in turn would lead to their death. The Misfits henchmen, Hiram and Bobby Lee, first took Bailey and John Wesley to the woods and killed them. The grandmother began to realize how real the situation had become, and began pleading her for life stating “You wouldn’t shoot a lady, would you? ” (O’Connor, 1955). The henchmen had come out of the woods and then took the mother and June Star to the woods to kill them as well. As the grandmother stood listening to the pistol shots announcing the death of her family, she called out to Jesus.
Misinterpreting her cries, the Misfit went on to remind her that no one has raised the dead except for Jesus; stating that these deeds were “meaningless”, he reveals his lack of faith in God. Realizing e is about to crack, the grandmother snapped back to reality and for a moment, one split second moment, she thought she could save her own life. She reached out to touch the shoulder of the Misfit to consolidate him. However this lapse of judgment was not in her favor. He responded by jolting back, shooting her three times in the chest, killing her.
As the henchmen retreat from the woods, they begin to laugh at the dead grandmother, mocking her meaningless chatter. The Misfit replied, “She would Of been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life… It’s no real pleasure in life. ” (O’Connor, 1955) Feminist Writing Style In the short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, O’Connor (1955) begins by painting a picture of an upper-class family who will soon be heading out on a vacation to Florida; needless to say, their destination took a turn for the worse.
In the opening paragraphs, one can see how the author depicts each character based on their gender roles. These characteristics illustrate the authors feminist style of writing. She portrays the men to be strong, short- tempered, protective, and chauvinistic. While on the other hand, the women re portrayed as emotional, nurturing, and submissive; a view of how she believes women should act. Furthermore, the author represents Bailey, the mother, and the children as flat or static characters, and the grandmother and Misfit are more round or dynamic characters (Kennedy & Tioga, 2013, Chi. ). Neither Bailey, the mother, nor the children have a change in character, however, the grandmother and the Misfit do near the end of the story. Bailey is the grandmothers only son. The reader is to assume the grandmother does in fact have other children, but because he is the only male, he is the one who must provide for her. Even John Wesley, though only a young boy, shows very little respect to his grandmother. His position as a man allows him to speak to her however he pleases, such as when he stated, “If you don’t want to go to Florida, why Daytona stay at home? (O’Connor, 1955). Even minor characters such as Red Sam, owner of The Tower, as well as Hiram and Bobby Lee, the Misfits henchmen, receive names within the Story due to them being male. The mother of the children isn’t even given a name. She is represented as the stereotypical, nurturing, caring being that is subservient to the men in her family. In addition to the mothers character, toward the end of the story after her husband and son are shot and killed in the woods, she makes no effort to resist when asked to join them.
She almost seems appreciative to go, thanking them, as though she would not be able to exist without her husband. This goes on to say that the female characters just do not receive the same treatment as male characters, only a reference to their cliché positions within the reading. Although a female character, this short story seems to revolve most around the grandmother, who has a more diverse/dynamic personality. Still taking on the heartsickness of a woman in the south, she is also portrayed as a conniving, smug, self-righteous, and a manipulative human being.
Despite her son’s disapproval, she even sneaks her cat along with her on the family vacation. The author describes her as being dressed such as that of a Southern Belle when setting out for the family trip. She was described as wearing ‘White cotton gloves… A navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim and a navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print. Her collar and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace… In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at Once that she was a lady’ (O’Connor, 1955).
Foreshadowing Style Throughout the story, there are a multitude of foreshadowing moments in which the author sets up, giving the reader ideas of what events will come later in the story. She does this through quotes, as well as through general details. Described are a few of the key foreshadowing moments. The Misfit is introduced in the very beginning of the story when the grandmother reads of him in the newspaper. He is presented as a serial killer who has escaped from prison and is heading to… Get ready for it… He destination of which the family is journeying for their vacation.
The reader is only to assume that this dangerous character will arise later in the story causing a sinister twist to the plot. During the family trip, she noted that they passed a “large cotton field with five or six graves fenced in the middle of it, like an island” (Conner, 1955). O’Connor makes a reference to six graves, and it just so happens there are six members of the family: Bailey, the mother, the grandmother, and three children. Its no question that O’Connor is setting up the fact that the family will die in the end.
She also makes a preference to the graves being fenced in like an island. Near the end of the story after the family accident, they are in fact stranded on the side of the road; trapped as you will. The grandmother was telling stories to the children in regards to how she would have done well to marry Mr.. Degrade because he was a gentleman (however no explanation given) and a very wealthy man. This moment added on to setting up the inner qualities of the grandmother presenting what she really valued in life, such as money and materialistic items.
This is also seen later in the story, just before the misfit shoots her when she tried offering all err money to him in return for her own life. There is foreshadowing in the scene where the “big black battered hearse- like automobile” came driving by after the family had their accident. The Misfit, a serial killer, and his henchmen pull up to the scene in a vehicle that resembles that which is used in funerals to carry the dead. This moment signifies that death is about to occur. Conclusion The true meaning of Flannels Schooner’s short story “A Good Man Is Hard to And” (1955) is a difficult one to figure out.
One can only piece together the fundamental meanings from context clues throughout the story and analyze t for themselves. The death of the family may seem pointless, however when incorporating the underlying meaning of “goodness” of a person, it is clear that there just was no goodness in the whole family. The Misfit, who may be viewed as Death, is called upon to eliminate this family from the earth who have no respect for anyone but themselves; looking upon the outside world as if they are the righteous beings. In the end, the grandmother begins to have a change of character, or possibly even a change of heart.
However, it seems that a gun to her face was the only way of changing her disposition as indicated by the Misfit: “She would of been a good Woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life” (O’Connor, 1955). Schooner’s use of feminist style writing was an addition to the chronological time this story was written; a time when men were the breadwinners and women were housewives. Furthermore, this author excelled with the use of foreshadowing, such as the mentioning of the Misfit in the opening paragraph which was a giveaway that the reader will be experiencing this character later in the story.