A Good Man Is Hard to Find

December 11, 2016 General Studies

This is a summary of a story by Flannery O??™Connor, entitled ???A Good Man Is Hard to Find???. I am going to do some free writing on the topic of the grandmother as she relates to the ???gothic tradition??? of writing.
Gothic Tradition in itself means to write in a way that is somewhat dark and grotesque but also humorous and true at the same time.
???A Good Man Is Hard to Find??? is a short story that starts out somewhat humorous but foreshadows a tragic ending. The story contains elements of southern ???Gothic Tradition???, a fictional setting that fills its stories with foreshadowing and grotesqness and replaces the wondering thoughts with reality. However, southern ???Gothic Tradition??? keeps the disturbing elements of Gothic works, whether in the form of a deranged character, scary woods, or a sense of coming doom. A southern-Gothic story may call up ghosts of the past, as Bailey??™s mother does when she dresses in her Sunday best so she be identified as a lady when she is found dead on the side of the road, and when she persuades her family to visit an old run-down plantation with a secret panel of a family??™s hidden silver.
The behavior of the characters shows how the values of the world are breaking down. John Wesley and June Star are brats with smart mouths, but their parents do nothing to discipline them. Although Bailey??™s mother realizes that the world is not the same, ???People are certainly not nice like they used to be??? (O??™Conner paragraph 35) she is oblivious of her own issues: She nags, she lies, she is too focused on her looks, and she uses offensive racist terms such as ???nigger??? and ???pickaninny.” She also assumes that Edgar Atkins Teagarden would have been a good man to marry simply because he held Coca-Cola stock, and she is mad that America sends money to Europe after World War II. The Misfit, of course, thinks the only worthwhile thing to do in life is to ???enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can??”by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness??? (O??™Connor paragraph 134). His two young companions, who act as his shadows, apparently believe the same things he does.
O??™Connor sneaks into the story words that foreshadow the tragic happenings on the dirt road. Think about the comment made about the Misfit in the beginning of the story. It raises the possibility, that Bailey and his family will encounter The Misfit. Baileys mother continues to foreshadow later events when she dresses for the trip in her Sunday clothes so that “in case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (O??™Connor paragraph 12). .When the family is on the highway, Baileys mother points out a cemetery in a cotton field “with five or six graves” (O??™Connor paragraph 22). (There are six people in Bailey??™s family.) When the grandmother observes at the Tower restaurant that people are not as nice they once were, the owners wife (a waitress) says she thinks the world is so bad that no one is trustworthy. ???It isn??™t a soul in this green world of God??™s that you can trust??? (O??™Connor paragraph 39). The car that Grandmother flagged down was The Misfit, and she put her trust in flagging them down to help fix the car.
The grandmother realizes that The Misfits soul is similar to her own. She may not have killed anyone, but she is a sinner nonetheless. When she reaches out and touches The Misfit, she reaches the point of being aware of herself. The misfit shoots her, but she dies with a smile on her face, knowing that her family and something better is waiting for her.
O??™Connor is truly a writer in the southern ???Gothic Tradition??? because she bases her writing on the decaying south and its people. She writes without any thought about kindness or evil. The way she wrote in the grandmothers issues, shows her underlying distaste of gracefulness. The other characters in ???A Good Man Is Hard to Find??? are ignorant and self-satisfying people, who see the worst and are shocked into self-realization.


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