A Good Man Is Hard to Find by F.O’Connor
The ideas of good and evil are considered to be crucial during an extended period. So many people find it very difficult to distinguish where true good or true evil may be. Those, who want to learn more about these two issues, have to read such wonderful work by O’Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
To my mind, a person cannot come by pure good or pure evil. Human advantages make him/her good, and disadvantages demonstrate the evil side of a person, this is why the line between good and evil is still invisible for many people.
The Grandmother and the Misfit are the two characters, who may be characterized as both good and evil people, and due to their actions and points of view, the reader can find out how slight the difference between good and evil can be.
A Good Man Is Hard to Find is about a family, trust, and inability to control their own emotions. As a rule, a short story has its protagonist, a hero, and an antagonist, a person, who spoils everything and creates more troubles for other characters. The peculiar feature of A Good Man Is Hard to Find is that it turns out to be very difficult to find out who is evil and who is good. Lots of readers find the Misfit an evil person because he is an escaped and a killer.
However, the Grandmother’s behavior causes lots of negative emotions; her desire to manipulate people and do everything according to her interests does not awake sympathy as well.
And finally, Bailey and his family’s attitude to their Grandmother is not the best example of respect and gratitude. This is why the line between good and evil in A Good Man Is Hard to Find too slight, and the reader does not get a chance to evaluate the same situation from another, neutral perspective.
To my mind, in this story, the author pays much attention to such stylistic device like irony. The relations between the Grandmother and the Misfit are rather interesting and unpredictable. In fact, after their first meeting, it is very difficult to believe that the Misfit may kill the Grandmother.
Even during all their talks, even the Grandmother’s desire to help this person and adopt him, at least on the religious level, could not prevent such terrible outcomes. Many people get into the way of trusting old ladies and thinking that their attitude to this life and their experience allow them to evaluate situations properly and take only positive steps. However, this Grandmother may lie, disregard her duties, and incline all members of one family against each other.
In his turn, the Misfit is an honest person: he does not hide his cruel intentions, he does not feel afraid to talk about his criminal past, and he believes in his partners and helps them. Such irony is one more proof that evil and good are so similar to each other, and very often, people just cannot find the necessary boundary.
At the end of the story, when the family and the Grandmother, in particular, were killed by the Misfit, the latter admits that “she would have been a good woman… if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life” (O’Connor and Asals, 51). These words are said by the murder, a terrible person, who deprived lots of people, both adults and children, from their lives.
However, the author gives him the right to judge another person and admit that people comprehend the essence of their life and the necessity to be sincere and kind to other people only during the last minutes of their lives. It is very difficult to comprehend, and this story makes me think about one point whether it is true that many people just afraid, to be honest, and kind.
The Misfit kills people because it is his nature, but now, he comprehends that “it’s no real pleasure in life” (O’Connor and Asals, 51). It is his first step to take to show repentance for his actions. For a long period, he does not want to become a part of Christian life, their traditions, and principles.
For the family, it was wrong to place and wrong time, because they lost their lives; for the Grandmother, it was wrong to place and wrong time, because (1) her behavior was the reason of the tragedy and (2) her self-assurance malfunctioned and did not help her; for the Misfit, it was wrong place and wrong time, because all his ideas and principles were broken, because he comprehended that in spite of the fact that being murder was a true evil, but hiding own evil over the mask of a good person was much more serious evil, and he was not ready to such truth.
O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find is one of the most frequently discussed short stories, because the author made a slight difference between true evil and good.
The characters of the story are from different classes and even from different cultures, however, that wrong place and wrong time united them and united their weaknesses and problems. The results of such units are not very positive; this is why this story also teaches the reader to be careful with both personal troubles and the troubles of people around.
O’Connor, Flannery, M. & Asals, Frederick. A Good Man Is Hard to Find. Rutgers: Rutgers University Press, 1993.