“A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor


Literature has always been an integral part of human society. People wanted to write down their feelings and emotions connected with some issues or events. That is why they developed their skills and created the remedy, which allowed them to do it. However, there was one more purpose of literature. People not only wanted to share their experiences with the next generations. They also had a desire to teach their descendants and help them to avoid all mistakes which were made by the authors of these stories.

With this in mind, it is possible to say that since ancient times literature tried to convey some meaning to readers, and that is why it had to develop different methods that we’re able to help to do it. Authors had been continuously improving their skills and remedies to make their creations more impressive and make them work better. With this in mind, it is possible to analyze some stories to understand the peculiarities of the functioning of literature.

The work and its main themes

Taking all these facts into account, the story A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor seems to be the best choice for this analysis. There are several reasons for this statement. First of all, being rather a short story, it still suggests a significant number of problems to discuss and many questions to answer. The story centers around human feelings and emotions. Moreover, it touches such vital issues as dignity, traits of the character of a person, his/her bravery, and attitude towards different situations. The author wants to make a reader think about the story and events described in it.

That is why the work is full of different remedies that influence a person and help this story to convey some meaning. That is why it is possible to see peculiarities of the functioning of literature based on this really work.

The main authors idea

However, it is necessary to understand the main idea of the story before its analysis. At first gaze, it seems very simple and understandable. However, there many hidden motifs and themes in it. As it becomes evident from the title, the author wants to show the complexity of determining a man as the right person. The thing is that this definition depends on the point of view.

On the one hand, it is evident that the Misfit, one of the main characters of the story, is the wrong person as he kills the whole family. However, on the other hand, the Grandmother does not seem to be such a good woman. From another perspective, her actions can be taken as the main reason for this tragedy as it was she who created this situation, and it was she who provoked the Misfit. That is why the author wants to make a reader think about the ambivalence of human behavior and character.

The authors ways to convey it

Taking the main idea of the story into account, it is possible to say that the author tries to convey the meaning of the story using different methods. First of all, it is possible to admit that the main characters of the work do not have common names as they are called the Grandmother and the Misfit. This unusual approach to the main characters is used to underline their significance for the whole story and its meaning.

Readers draw their attention to these characters at once. Moreover, dialogues of these characters are the largest, and they are the most significant for the story. Resting on these facts, it is possible to say that the Misfit and the Grandmother help the author to show her ideas and sound them. Their words convey the primary meaning of the whole story and serve as the key to understanding the peculiarities of this work.

Stylistic devices

However, it is impossible to say that the work is full of stylistic devices. Usually, they are used by authors to make the text of the action more exciting and complicated. Moreover, it is possible to achieve different psychological effects with the help of stylistic devices. Almost any book is full of various tropes as they help to convey the meaning of the story and show the author’s attitude towards some action or event. However, the novel A Good Man is Hard to Find is written straightforwardly without a significant number of complicated figures of speech or constructions. The thing is that the author does not want to show her attitude towards the actions of the main characters.

However, she wants readers to judge themselves, and that is why she just describes all events, not adding her attitude to the story (Pence para. 2). That is why the absence of stylistic devices is not crucial and even helps this story to work better.

One more remedy which is used by the author to make a reader think about this story and cogitate about its theme is a provocative situation. The accident on the road can trigger a significant number of different discussions. The thing is that it seems impossible that an old lady, who loves her grandchildren and family and who is very pious, can be responsible for the death of the whole family.

However, the author manages to add some other possible meanings to the story, which promote the appearance of another point of view and numerous discussions (Evans para. 6). The old lady is taken as the worst man it the story as her selfishness and indiscretion lead to the death of all members of the family. Introducing different possible attitudes towards the main characters, the author makes her work more efficient in convening the primary information and her points of view.

Ethic issues

However, some ethical issues in the story are touched by the author. One of the main questions is the problem of the definition of the right person. This question has been actual for decades, and a significant number of different works were devoted to its investigation. However, the author wants to show a reader that a set of qualities, which is considered to be one of the main characteristics of a right person, is not enough to determine a man as a good one. That is why it remains for a reader to understand what criteria should be used for the evaluation of a person and whether it is possible to give some definitions to a man. Two main characters of the story have different sets of qualities, which even can be taken as absolutely opposite. However, both these characters can be described as bad people.

Open endings

Nevertheless, the author also gives a significant number of opportunities for readers to think about the possible end of this story. The death of the whole family is described in work. However, Flannery O’Connor does not say something about the further destiny of the Misfit. He and his gang deserve punishment. However, the author does not tell readers about it. That is why it is for them to decide whether he is captured or not.

This kind of ending promotes the increase of the level of involvement in the story and makes a reader think about the possibility of punishment for the Misfit. Moreover, it is possible to suggest that the author wants to make a reader believe whether this punishment is needed at all. Additionally, the end of the story promotes a rethinking of the whole story and analysis of its key moments.


Having analyzed the whole story and its central themes, it is possible to make an inevitable conclusion. First of all, it should be said that the author wants to show the complexity of human relations and the definition of a person as a good man. That is why a significant number of moments, which make a reader think about it are described. Moreover, the main heroes of the book can have ambivalent characters. Being different, they serve as the background, which helps the story to convey its primary meaning.

Moreover, the work is not rich in stylistic devices. However, the author manages to make it exciting and efficient with the help of unusual approaches to its main characters and the complexity of developing a particular point of view on the events described in the story. With this in mind, the novel A Good Man is Hard to Find can be taken as an excellent example of the literary work which impresses a reader and manages to convey the main ideas of the author.

Works Cited

Evans, John. “The importance of Foreshadowing in ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find'”. Academia.edu. 2013. Web.

Pence, Katie. The Paradox of the Grotesque and Grace in Flannery OConnors A Good Man is Hard to Find: A Casebook Study. n.d.. Web.