“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” – Selfish Grandmother
Grandparents are the parents of one’s own parent. Grandparents spoil and care for you whenever your parents are not. In some situations, grandmothers are more involved with the grandchildren than any family member.
In “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, the main characters is the Grandmother and her son, Bailey. The son’s family goes on a family vacation to Florida. The grandmother tags along after she insisted not to ride along. She didn’t want to be left alone at home and wanted to keep the kids company on the ride to Florida.
Throughout the whole story, the family experienced certain events that the grandmother is to blame for the family’s fate and tragic ending. She told stories to the children about the old days and compared it to present day in the story. Also she insisted to make a couple stops and gestures that could have been avoided if she did not come on the trip. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is an ironic title for this short story by Flannery O’Conner. The southern Gothic writer wrote about the things she observed in Georgia. Her stories were far from the normal because her ending fates of the characters were dramatically disastrous.
Clearly stated, the grandmother is to blame for the family’s fate because of the unexpected effort to stop at the plantation house, the cat a board the car ride, and recognizing the Misfit and his fellows. Bailey and his family resided in Georgia. The road trip was expected to be a success, but made a tragic turn at the end. They left Atlanta with the grandmother, Bailey, his two children, June Star and John Wesley, and the mother of the children with the youngest child in her arms. The grandmother sat in the middle of the back seat with John Wesley and June Star on either side of her.
Bailey and the children’s mother and the baby sat in front. Their planned vacation to Florida had an additional unplanned member in the car. Pitty Sing, grandma’s cat, was the uninvited member, who sat on the grandmother’s lap in the back seat. The grandchildren listened to the grandmother’s childhood stories of Tennessee as they focus on their comic books. Halfway to Florida they made their first stop at The Tower and decided to eat dinner. After dinner, Bailey and his family continued their journey to Florida. As they drove off, the grandmother continued telling her stories.
She started one childhood story about a plantation that she spent most time at a young age. The kids got interested in her story because she spoke about the house having a secret panel where silver was hidden. The kids were excited and wanted to know more. The grandmother noticed a plantation with very similar features like the one she visited a lot. Her announcement of recognition made the kids beg. “The baby began to scream and John Wesley kicked the back of the seat so hard that his father could feel the blows in his kidney” (O’Conner, 1080).
As stated above, the screams of excitement and curiosity of the children and the convincing grandmother persuaded Bailey to turn around and go down the dirt road where the entrance of the house with the secret panel stood. The grandmother finally convinced her son to go up the dirt road because she kept describing the rush of joy to see the house with the secret panel was nearby. The grandmother’s insistence to stop at the plantation house by driving down a road off the highway is one supporting fact proving that slowly all the events caused by the grandmother will be the reason for the family’s fate.
On the quiet road, everyone kept to themselves all the excited as they watched the trees pass by. Bailey asked, “how further more”, and the grandmother replied, “Not much further. ” The grandmother thought to herself as she remembered that this plantation house they were driving to be actually in Tennessee and not in Georgia. Instantly, “the thought was so embarrassing that she turned red in the face and her eyes dilated and her feet jumped up upsetting the valise in the corner. The instant valise moved the basket under it rose up Pitty Sing, the cat, sprang onto Bailey’s shoulder…” (O’Conner, 1081).
After she realized this drive down the road was unnecessary and held it in because she knew Bailey and the children would be upset. Driving over a long hill, she rendered to what would actually be on the other side of the hill. Since the plantation house didn’t exist. When Pitty Sing jumped onto Bailey, he was so surprised and lost control of the car. The car with the whole family flipped twice then landed in the ditch off to the side of the road after the big hill. Again the grandmother is responsible for another event the family has experienced.
The cat jumped on Bailey causing the car to crash. This could have been prevented if she would have left Pitty Sing at home like Bailey requested because he did not want the cat with them on the family vacation or if she could have stayed home since she did not want to go to Florida, but Tennessee instead. But then again, the grandmother seemed it was alright and nothing would be wrong with bringing the cat. Moments after the chaos of the accident had settled; Bailey spotted a car coming from the end of the road. The car approached the family and parked near the car and the family.
Three individuals came out the car and looked into the ditch onto the family. The whole family was in pain and hurt from the car flipping. They screamed for help as the three walked down to them. The grandmother noticed that one of the individuals was someone she knows or saw before. She realized and spoke out loud that all three men were convicts that have escaped from prison and were driving down to Florida to hide out. The leader of the trio was the Misfit. He told the grandmother that the best thing she could have done was stay quiet.
The two accomplices of the Misfit took Bailey and his son, John Wesley, into the woods. Soon after the mother, the baby, and June Star were walked into the woods. Gunshots went off in the woods. “The Misfit’s statements and actions take to a much more blatant extreme that which is hinted at by the grandmother’s behavior…” (Owens). Leaving the grandmother alone and last to kill by Misfit since the other two men were in the forest. She kept reminding him how good of a man he was to stop and help them. She exclaimed to Misfit, “You’ve got good blood!
I know you wouldn’t shoot a lady! I know you come from nice people! Pray! Jesus ought not to shoot a lady. I’ll give you all the money I’ve got! ” (O’Conner, 1086). Misfit had enough of her yapping and shot her dead with three gunshots to the chest as she lay in the ditch. “In her final moment, the Grandmother reaches out and touches the Misfit, whispering ‘You’re one of my own children! ’. The Misfit’s final commentary on the grandmother is that ‘she would of been a good woman . . . if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life’” (Overview: Wilson).
The family’s fate ended with them being murdered by the Misfit and his companions. The grandmother could be perfectly blamed for this whole event because if she would have stayed home, left the cat behind, and not recognize the Misfit. The tragic and sad finale was the final situation that the grandmother will ever put the family into ever again. The “good man” the grandmother claimed the Misfit was and his two friends are murderers. Throughout the story the ironic title is connected to all three situations the grandmother placed the family in causing their ending fate of death. She is selfish and pushy; in fact, her desire to see a house from her childhood results in the family’s death at the end of the story” (Overview: Wilson). Clearly stated, the grandmother is to blame for the family’s fate because of the unexpected effort to stop at the plantation house, the cat aboard the car ride, and recognizing the Misfit and his fellows. Persuasion was a key part that played by the grandmother throughout the short story of O’Conner. The moral of the story helps the reader realize that it is “hard to find a good man”. ? Works Cited
O’Conner, Flannery. “A Good Man Is Hard To Find. ” Literature and Ourselves. 6th ed. New York: Pearson, 2009. 1075-087. Print. “Overview: ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’. ” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Kathleen Wilson. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 1997. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 24 Sep. 2012. Owens, Mitchell. “The Function of Signature in ‘A Good Is Hard to Find. ‘. ” Studies in Short Fiction 33. 1 (Winter 1996): 101-106. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 61. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 24 Sep. 2012.