A Good Man is Hard to Find Analysis Essay Example

  • Category: Books, Literature,
  • Words: 1153 Pages: 5
  • Published: 06 September 2021
  • Copied: 140

In (Mary) Flannery O’Conner’s short story ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’, We get a glimpse into Bailey, his wife, his mother, and his three children preparing for a vacation to Florida. From the beginning, we are informed about an escapee from federal prison who calls himself ‘The Misfit’ and is thought to be heading towards Florida.  Bailey’s Mother, who is referred to as Grandmother in this story, does not want to go on vacation in Florida. She rather heads to East Tennessee to visit some connections she has, but Bailey, his wife and children are set on going to Florida. After an automobile accident the family soon finds themselves stranded on the side of a dirt road in Georgia and the face-to-face with ‘The Misfit’ and two of his acquaintances. In ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’, the reader gets to know the Grandmother and feels for her because of the treatment she receives throughout the short story. The family’s and grandmother’s ending are just another example on how good men or people in general are hard to come by. 

While the readers do not get a lot of background on ‘The Misfit’, we do get a little insight into why is he was in the Federal Penitentiary. In ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’, the grandmother stated “Here this fellow that calls himself ‘The Misfit’ is a loose from the Federal Pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people”. ‘These people’ suggesting he committed crimes towards multiple individuals. While we do not know the crime, we as readers, can suggested that he is very dangerous. Once the family encounters the ‘The Misfit’, he seems to be really uneasy and also scared of the children. He would mention “Children make me nervous”. When the grandmother finally recognizes the criminal, he suggested that it would have been better for them if she would not have notice who he was.  This seems a little unlikely for it feels like the criminals would have carry out the same actions to follow even if they were not recognized. ‘The Misfit’ finally gives the reader information on his background. We learn about his mother and father. ‘The Misfit’s’ father mentioned that “he’s (the misfit) going to be into everything”.  ‘The Misfit’ says he’s mother was a fine lady and his father’s heart was made of pure gold. While it is hard to understand why he would turn into such an evil with good parents, we have to assume that there is other reasoning behind his destruction. We start to read as ‘the Misfit’ tells the grandmother why he was in the federal penitentiary. ‘The Misfit’ is quoted “It was a head-doctor at the penitentiary said what I had done killed my daddy”. ‘The Misfit goes on to pled his innocence. He does not recall killing his father, he believes his father passed in 1919 due to influenza. It is safe to assume that the mention of a ‘head-doctor’ refers to a mental health specialized. ‘The Misfits’ must have been in a psychotic break. 

If ‘The Misfit’ really murdered his own father but has no recollection of it, it seems as if his trauma erases that memory to protect himself. This is very common and does not make you insane. ‘The misfit’ also has a reaction to the sound of pistol. This possible could be one of his triggers and maybe his brain is catching on to a familiarly sound from a traumatic moment or this trigger could be from his spent in the arm services both land and sea. ‘The Misfit’ is so sure that he did commit his suspected crime and even says “Does it seem right to you lady, that one is punished a heap and another ain’t punished at all?”. This gives the readers a new look on maybe why he is doing this to the family. It seems now that he just out for revenge, he is angry that he was place in the petitionary considering he cannot remember what he had done to even get there. Though ‘The Misfit’ is really dangerous himself, he also had help two guys that escape with him from the petitionary. We do not get any information on these guys except for names Hiram and Bobby Lee. At the very end of ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’, Bobby Lee stated “Some Fun!” to which ‘The Misfit’ replies “Shut up, Bobby Lee, It’s no real pleasure in life”. In this moment it seems ‘The Misfit’ is battling something internal. If killing the family did not have any joy to him why did he proceed with those action.  It seems very likely that ‘The Misfit’ had some sort of mental disorder but I do not believe he is insane. 

Throughout ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’, The grandmother is the only member of the family that truly pleads with ‘The Misfit’. While the dad might not have known he was walking towards his death with his son, when it was the children’s mother turns so simply went as she knew there was no other way out. The grandmother pleading endlessly with the ‘The Misfit’, telling him, he is a good man. She begins to pray in hopes Jesus would protect them. Even after hearing the shots of a pistol and seeing her son’s shirt being given to ‘The Misfit’, she still tells the man that she believes is good and suggested he prays more. The grandmother also goes on to agree with him on how the penitentiary must have gotten something wrong for him to end up there. The Grandmother also goes on to say she cares for ‘The Misfit’ and sees him as one of her own children. ‘The Misfit’ heard this and it triggered some kind of reaction, the thought of someone caring for him seem unbearable. He then went on the shoot the grandmother. The grandmothers respond to ‘The Misfit’ was emotional. She pulled on his emotions to try and get him to feel something and realize that killing the family would not solve any of his issues. The grandmother tried her hardest to ensure her and her family came out of this situation alive and she did not stop trying until she met her end. 

The short story ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’, we can not help but to wish for a different ending for the family. ‘The Misfit’ grew up with seemly good parents and essentially no one who have expected him to be capable of this, but everyone is completely different. His part in the armed services, may have triggered an evil in him that wanted to cause chaos. The grandmother tried so hard to save her and her families’ life. ‘The Misfit’ showed almost no emotion. if ‘The Misfit’s’ allowed his emotions to show, would the family still be alive? As a reader, I unfortunately do not think that his emotions would have shown the family any mercy. As the title ‘A Good Man is Hard is to Find’ insinuates that there are not truly good men or people around. This even goes for Bailey, the grandmother’s son, his actions towards his mother was rude and almost disrespectful so was his children’s actions, but this does not make it okay what ‘The Misfit’ did. In conclusion you really cannot trust anyone.


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