ENGL 102-007 Colvin
1 May 2019
Good Versus Evil
At the first glance of Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the true good of the story is not readily evident. The book’s title hints to a general idea of the theme while only showing the surface of it. The theme of O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” embodies the struggle between good and evil. The Misfit represents evil while the grandmother attempts to show her definition of good, but her actions portray otherwise.
Throughout the story, the grandmother changes her actions and word choice in an attempt to save her own life. She comes across as a deceitful and grumpy elderly person, yet the reader does not see her as evil nor good. The grandmother is stuck in her time and uses many prejudices; she even goes as far as manipulating her own family. She only worries about her own life as Bandy explains, “there are surely many others who can only be appalled by a calculating opportunist who is capable of embracing her family’s murderer, to save her own skin” (110). This is prominent when the grandmother hides the truth by withholding from her family that she brought the cat on the trip and the fact that the house was in a completely different state. Also, the grandmother’s selfishness is evident when they face death in an encounter with the Misfit. The grandmother’s thoughts of only herself are shown when O’Connor says, “hoping she was injured so that Bailey’s wrath would not come down on her all at once” (419). These swayed personal morals cause the grandmother to use the term “good man” wrongfully. Red Sammy and even the Misfit are referred to as good men by the grandmother since they follow a part of her morals or values. These values of the grandmother are manipulated to work in her favor. Red Sammy, the gas station owner, is cheated out of money by a customer to which the grandmother responds, “Because you’re a good man” (O’Connor 417). Red Sammy’s poor judgement and gullibility is described as good by the grandmother. The grandmother explains men as good based on parallels with her own values and what she would do rather than the true character of the man. The grandmother does not solely construe her definition of good on Red Sammy alone; she includes the Misfit as well.
The Misfit, the man who kills the whole family, is also called good by the grandmother. The Misfit is the other main character that acts opposite of the good man the grandmother calls him. He is a known criminal who escapes prison causing him to cross paths with the grandmother and her family. The Misfit also has two accomplices, Hiram and Bobby Lee, who assist him on his journey towards Florida. At first, there is no connection between the Misfit’s rampage and the grandmother’s family. The grandmother introduces the Misfit by using his criminal nature as an excuse to travel to Tennessee rather than Florida. The...