A good man really is hard to find. But what is the real definition of a real man? Maybe it is not just the prince charming you see in fairy tales or the perfect guy walking down Sixth Ave. that you pass by everyday to work. Maybe a good guy is simply someone that is good what they do. In this case the relationship between the grandmother and the misfit is just that. The only thing is if the reader sees it as clearly as the author would like them too or simply as she does. The setting of the story is never really clear to the reader.
The author never really comes out and says where and when the story takes place, but with a few clues an idea is given on a pretty clear setting of “A Good Man is Hard to Find. ” The time period begins in the mid-twentieth century. In the first half of the story, the family is at their home in Atlanta, Georgia. The author never really says that they are in Atlanta, but in the story the grandmother writes down that it will take them approximately take them 20 minutes to reach the outskirts of the city.
When the family begins on their trip to East Tennessee instead of Florida early that morning, the grandmother observes it’s a beautiful day, not to hot nor cold. They pass up many old plantations and open fields. The grandmother also observes the details in the scenery she describes “the Stone Mountain; the blue granite that in some places came up to both sides of the highway; the brilliant red clay banks slightly streaked with purple; and the various crops that made rows of green lace-work on the ground. The trees were full of silver-white sunlight and the meanest of them sparkled”. O’Conner. They are obviously in the open country and used to seeing the old plantations because there was really no excitement from the family with the children reading magazines and the mother falling asleep, so with this clue as well gave a hint on where the family was from. During their long road trip the family decides to stop at Red Sammy’s Barbeque Joint to grab a bite to eat. Red Sammy’s was a little hole in the wall barbeque stand on the side of the road next to a big tower with a very welcoming sign in front.
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In the second half of the story later on in the day the family ends up in a ditch in the middle of nowhere after a car accident caused by the grandmother and her cat. There is a dark, shadowy forest on both sides of the road. The scenery is so dark the only way the viewer can tell what’s going on is the screams and the gun shots coming from the characters. Landscape descriptions and the apparel of the characters also indicate that the action occurs during the warmer months. There is no sun in the sky; this could mean the time period could be around sunset.
The setting of the play was a little hard to decipher but a couple of clues gave it away. This play wasn’t very long and it was written mainly in dialogue. The story went from one extreme to another, quickly changing moods as the story progressed. To really understand this story it would be a good idea to understand Flannery O’Conner. ” Flannery O’Connor lived but 39 short years. The body of work she left may be small in size, but the stories and two novels are deep in meaning and boundless in importance for the modern reader. ”-Welborn.
Her stories were never really clear but meaning came clear in the end. Sometimes they had to be put together like a puzzle. O’Conner was an only child and raised in a Savannah and attended nothing but Catholic Schools. This was very odd in deed because a lot of the stories she writes about were about death and the deaths were usually due to murders so with her being so catholic it was odd. Also in this play the conversation between the grandmother and the Misfit was about their beliefs and the misfit not knowing what he believes is weird to me because the reader is indeed catholic. The self-satisfied are attacked, those who fancy themselves as earthly saviors find themselves capable of great evil, intellectuals discover their ideas to be useless human constructs, and those bent on “freedom” find themselves left open to be controlled by evil. ” – Welborn.
This could have been the case between he misfit and the grandmother both. But it’s never really clearly said. The misfit could have been known as the evil villain of the story. The grandmother was slowly beginning to turn into one but never made it all the way. So take a chance, and take a look at Flannery O’Connor. Prepare to laugh, to be shocked, and to think. But most of all, be prepared to see. ” –Welborn. There are many symbols in A Good Man is Hard to Find. “A Symbol is something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention, especially a material object used to represent something invisible. ” –Symbol. The first most obvious symbol is the Grandmother’s hat. She wears the hat for one sole purpose; if she were to die she would want the ones who found her body to be able to identify her as a lady.
When she prepares for the car trip, she prepares for any accident that may occur. For the grandmother the only thing that seems to matter to her is that she is recognized as a lady, this reveals her selfishness and flimsy moral convention. When the grandmother first gets ready for the trip, the hat is in perfect condition. No tears, no nothing. When the grandmother gets involved in the car accident, just like her moral convictions, her hat begins to fall apart. The rim of the hat begins to tear as she faces the misfit and is thrown from the car.
When the grandmother is finally shot after a while of trying to convince the misfit to look deeper into himself her hat falls completely apart and falls to the ground along with the grandmother. “She drops the broken hat as her self-conception as a lady dissolves. ” –Shmoop. Another symbol in the play is the Misfits vehicle. He drives a big black battered hearse like automobile. This is the description of the car the family gives it as it approaches. The car symbolizes a hearse because the misfit is known as a killer, so by giving him this type of vehicle symbolizes what he is known for. A hearse is an automobile or carriage, used in a funeral for carrying the corpse. ” –Hearse. This is an image of intimate death for the fate of the family before the misfit and his companions get out of the car. One last symbol out of the many in the play is the scenery and the environment. The dark gloomy day signifies the day the family is about to have. The cloudless, sunless sky. This was mentioned many times after the family was in the car accident and even more when the misfit came into the picture.
The sky was also notified when the grandmother was shot and the misfit walked away. The narrator never mentions the weather or the time of day but the clues he gives already tells a lot of the kind of day the family is about to have. In this play the grandmother and the misfit really have a lot in common than we think. Even though their social status and ages are very different their similarities that they share are rather similar. For instance they are both missing important spiritual bonds.
The grandmother tries to get the misfit to understand the meaning of why god kills and in odd ways they agree on similar terms. They both really don’t understand the meaning of why he did what he did but they both have their own perspective on why. Nowhere in the play before the accident does the narrator show the grandmothers spiritual side. When the grandmother talks to the misfit about this topic it is kind of struck out of nowhere, kind of like a last resort to try to save her own life. Neither the grandmother nor the misfit had truly gotten what it means to be saved and true salvation.
The misfit doesn’t hold any respect for human life and sees the means of all human life coming to an end at some point. Neither of them believes in any such thing as resurrection even though god himself was resurrected. When the grandmother talks to the misfit he shows a whole other side to himself. The way he talks about his family and himself shows he isn’t as bad of a man as they come to think of him. The grandmother is also the same way, even though she seems selfish, she really does care for her family.
At the end of the play the grandmother tries to reach out to the misfit spiritually and tries to get him to understand her faith, but the misfit just doesn’t want to hear it and shoots her himself. So what is a definition of a real man? What makes a good person in general? The title of the story is kind of misleading from the very beginning. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” gave me the impression of a women who is having trouble finding a good man for her, I never thought it was going to be about a criminal on the run killing people.
This really made me think twice on what the author was deciphering as a “good man. ” In this play the misfit did say he came from a good family and was raised like a normal boy. I believe what the author was trying to say in the title was that he was so good at who he was, which was being a criminal. We never really knew what kind of person the criminal aside from his actions and the conversation he had with the grandmother. He was religious in his own kind of way. His beliefs were indeed different but he did believe there was a God, he just didn’t believe in the miracles he performed.
From the way the Misfit talked to the grandmother he was pretty respectful and listened to what she had to say, he disagreed, but he still listened and was able to hold a conversation with her. We could never really tell if the Misfit was being honest and truthful from the things he was saying but his actions could point out that they might have been. In this play we never know if the misfit is a compulsive liar, it is possible because he is pretty good at it but like I said, we never know. The Misfit isn’t the only one we may hold second thoughts about.
The grandmother is right along with the Misfit. In the beginning of the story, she was the perfect kind of grandmother who looks out for the safety of her family and puts them first. Towards the middle of the story when the family is on their road trip, she became very selfish on the things she wants. For example in the beginning she told the family they should go to Tennessee instead of Florida because of the Misfit and then throughout the road trip she decided she wanted to go see a certain plantation even when the family disagreed.
She stated to only think about herself and it got even worse when the misfit came into the picture. When he came into the picture the grandmother seemed to forget about everyone else and only thought about her. Just having lost her family and threatened her own death, the grandmother seemed to undergo a sudden and miraculous change of heart. She starts to reach out to the one who killed her family to try to save her own life instead of trying to save her families. She never showed emotion towards the death of her family. She only became concerned when her own life became threatened.
Perhaps at this point in someone’s life, they experience transformations because of the moment they are in. That is the only real explanation I could come up with for why the grandmother did what she did. And in my opinion neither the grandmother nor the Misfit were very good people, they were just good at what they did. This play over all was a great story to read. It gave a whole different perspective on the way a paper could be read. It showed that the title can have a whole different meaning and how fast characters can transform to defend for themselves when they undergo life changing experiences.
This story was one of those ionic experiences in everyone’s life; a family vacation from hell. It had everything you would find in a normal family has, annoying kids, an ungrateful selfish grandmother, pretty normal parents, a car accident and a twist; a serial killer. Not every story has a happy ending or an ending we want. This story kept you wanting for more. In a way the events were predictable, but the exaggeration of the events made it most enjoyable to read on. This play was really, truly about the vacation from hell!
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