Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Good Man is Hard to Find-Flannery O'Connor

I found A Good Man is Hard to Find to be very sick and twisted. It is a story of a small family that takes a road trip. As they are on their trip, they veer off on a slight detour and end up in a car accident. As they are gathering themselves from the accident, three men drive by in their car. These men turn out to be serial killers and shoot the entire family.

                The story opens as the family is eating breakfast. We are introduced to the grandmother who lives with her son, Bailey, and his family. The grandmother begins discussing an article about the escape of a serial killer known as “The Misfit.” The family continues conversation by discussing their trip to Florida. The kids are so spoiled! For one, the boy, John Wesley, tells his grandmother, “If you don’t want to go to Florida, why dontcha stay home?” The daughter, June Star continues to degrade the grandmother by saying, “…She has to go everywhere we go.” What rude things to say to your grandmother. Of course she wants to be with them, they are her grandkids. The children definitely take their grandmother for granted.

                As the family departs on their trip to Florida, the grandmother is made to sit in the back seat between the two children. I’m not sure what the significance of the grandmother dressing so that everyone knew she was a lady was. During their trip, the children display their insolence multiple times. For instance, they begin to hit each other over their grandmother after arguing over the shape of clouds.

                The family stops for lunch at a diner on the way to Florida. They stop at Red Sammy’s for barbeque. While inside, the owner and his wife both compliment the children, to which both rudely reply. For instance, June Star says, “I wouldn’t live in a broken-down place like this for a million bucks!” The grandmother and Red Sam discuss older times and how people aren’t as nice as they used to be. They even discuss “The Misfit.”

                The family leaves the restaurant, and after some convincing (predominantly by whining of the children) decide to go visit an old house the grandmother remembers living at. As they drive down an old dirt road, the grandmother realizes the house she remembers is in Georgia not Tennessee. Just as she realizes, the car flips and the family gets in an accident.

As they are recovering from the event, a car pulls up and three men come out. While the children shout at the men about how they got in an accident, the grandmother blurts out that she recognizes the man as “The Misfit!” I wonder if she had not recognized him if he would have spared the family. One by one, the family is led off into the woods to be shot and killed. The grandmother, who is the last to be killed, tries desperately to convince the man he is good and doesn’t have to kill her. When she gets the man thinking that all he has to do is pray to Jesus, she attempts to touch the man. As she does so, the man shoots her three times in the chest.

The closing lines really solidified the demented message of the story. The Misfit says, “…it’s no real pleasure in life.” This just shows how crazy The Misfit is. He is a complete pessimist and doesn’t believe in anything except the evil in life.


  1. This is a very twisted story. It reminds me of a western bandit series. Do you think that this plot is a common one for this time period?

  2. Is he a pessimist? Is there any other way to read his character, given the rest of what we've read so far?

  3. Andrea,

    I don't think that this was common plot. However, after class discussion, it was written during the post WWII baby-boom era. It really seems to be a shot at those growing up in that era, i.e. the bratty children, the mocking of the Veteran/barbeque diner owner Red Sammy, and the murder of the "perfect" nuclear family.

  4. Professor Freeman,

    Sure, there are multiple ways to read his character. In my mind, he was a pessimist though! Haha. But seriously, after our class discussion, I almost find The Misfit to be a sad story because he is so confounded and confused. His story of going to jail for reasons he didn't know and becoming a product of that reminded me of a song. I don't know how familiar you are with Eminem, but his song "Whatever You Say I Am" just jumped out to me. He was so withdrawn from society and human connection that he shot the grandmother when she tried to touch him. You can tell he wasn't just ruthless and cold because he teared up after he killed her. He may not be a pessimist, but I still think he is a twisted character.