Good Man Is Hard To Find” written by Flannery
Purpose: To analyze Flannery O’Connor’s short
story “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”.
Audience: Wide range of readers, mostly those interested in
I’ve chosen the work of Flannery O’Connor because
it deals with especially important problems of modern world.
This short story helps to understand evils of today’s
society and reveal weakness of human nature. Flannery O’Connor
is an outstanding American writer of the XX century. She is
known as a master of ‘Southern Gothic’, whose
works combine realism with absurd. Flannery O’Connor
received a well-deserved reward of O’Henry. It is the
highest literary reward for short stories in the USA. “A
Good Man Is Hard To Find” is penetrated with rigidity
and religious inspiration. It shows psychological and moral
instability of humans. On the one hand it seems to be quite
easy for understanding. On the other hand its plot is psychologically
and emotionally intensive.
Evils of human nature
Flannery O’Connor managed to combine simple and comic
style of writing with psychologically depressive development
of the plot. The scene is set in the South of the USA in Georgia.
In fact while reading the story, one may never be sure about
what would be written next. At first it seems to be a positive
family story. But the plot soon radically changes for the
worst. A usual family trip appeared to be their last one.
Author’s powerful imagination skillfully creates both
happy and violent scenes of family life . The most striking
peculiarity is that simplicity of style goes hand in hand
with constant emotional strain. Grandmother is shown as a
naive person. She tried to persuade the criminal that he was
a Good Man . Till the very end Grandmother wanted to trust
him and believed in his inner kindness. In spite of his immoral
actions she steadily believed that he might change for the
best. His further actions however reveal true evil of human
At first the story doesn’t seem to be religious at all.
Then it gradually reveals that catholic faith penetrates its
whole plot. In order to understand the story it is important
to consider it from religious point of view in the first place.
Faithful grandmother stayed with God till the very end. She
prayed at the time her son and grandchildren were shot in
the forest. Along with this she desperately appealed to the
criminal’s conscience and demanded justice. The story
shows disappointment in human beings. As we know Jesus believed
in human virtue, saying there were no bad people at all .
But life changes and nowadays it’s hard to take such
words for truth. World is full of evil and violence.
What is a Good Man?
The statement that it’s hard to find a good man is based
on humanistic understandings. Author clearly shows that a
Good Man has to possess certain moral qualities. Red Sam,
an owner of the cafe where the whole family stopped for lunch,
complained of dishonest behavior of quests. Recently he lent
petrol to some strangers who never came back since then. Actually
people never expect dishonesty in response to kind attitude.
A person is always naive to believe that he will not be deceived.
However a truthful proverb says: one ought to know when one
is well off. Red Sam was a Good Man. Probably for this reason
he was so easy to deceive . His personal experience finally
taught him that nobody ought to be trusted. “It’s
hard to find a good man”, - said Red Sam. In the past
people’s life was more secure. It was normal to leave
doors open at night . Flannery O’Connor tried to
emphasize that times and people have gradually changed. And
nowadays people suffer from fraud and dishonesty, and at the
same time learn to be careful and suspicious.
In conclusion I’d like to say that Flannery O’Connor
proved to be a master of psychological novel. Her story reveals
human violence and weakness. The story is valuable for general
public as it makes them think over serious problems of modern
world. It deals with human immorality and shows how unpredictable
and unimaginable our destiny can be.
1. Melvil J. Friedman, Beverly Lyon Clark. Hall, 1985. Critical
Essays on Flannery O’Connor.
2. Flannery O’Connor. London University Press, 1988.
Collected Works. Edited by Sally Fitzgerald.
3. Studies in Short Fiction: Book reviews. 2004. A Good Man
Is Hard To Find by Flannery O’Connor. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2455/is_n1_v32/ai_17156439