A Good Man is Hard to Find

Flannery O'Connor

BACKGROUND

This story was written in the 1950s. It is a horror story.

MAIN CHARACTERS

Grandmother: She is a good catholic woman and very straight and narrow.

Bailey: Grandmother's son. He drives the family on the trip. He has a wife and 2 kids (June Star and John Wesley)

Misfit: He is the famous killer that the Grandmother warns the family about.

PLOT

A family plans a vacation. Everyone wants to drive down to Florida. The grandmother wants to go to Tennessee. She tries to get the family to not go to Florida by telling them there is a killer on the loose down there (The Misfit). The family doesn't listen to her and they drive to Florida. The grandmother brings her cat on the trip but hides it under the seat. The road trip is like any other road trip: the kids fight, they play games, etc. Then they stop at some barbecue joint called Red Sammy's. The grandmother and Red talk about how people are not nice anymore. Red says that "good men are hard to find", then he talks about how Europe is to blame for everything that is wrong in the world.

As the road trip continues, the grandmother wants to stop at some plantation in Georgia. But then she remembers the plantation is in Tennessee. She gets upset, and shakes her seat. The cat jumps out on Bailey (driver) and he loses control of the car and they go into a ditch. Then a hearse pulls up and 3 guys get out. The grandmother recognizes one as The Misfit. She is scared shitless and tries to persuade him not to kill her. She tries to kiss up to him, ask him why he is doing this, bribe him but nothing works. The other men take the rest of the family and kill them. Then the grandmother talks to The Misfit. She gets all religious on him. The Misfit believes that before a person dies he should have the most fun he can, doing whatever. He says there is "no pleasure but meanness". Then the grandmother has a moment of clarity and reaches out to The Misfit in a religious way, calling him "one of her babies". He shoots her. Then he talks about how killing isn't fun anymore after listening to the grandmother.

THINGS TO MAKE YOU LOOK SMART

  • This story is all about death and the very scary moment when each person has to face it and how they will handle it.
  • It is a religious story too. The grandmother accepts Jesus and her faith right before she got killed.