Flannery O’Connor is a famous author whose work has been extensively read. In her short story titled ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’, she addresses a number of social concern issues. Although she insists that readers of the short story should not subject it to interpretation, there are certain deep-seated issues that are implied by the story. A number of publications by different people have been made to address these issues. This research paper used three publications to find out if the story has an inclination to the Christian religion.
A self-righteous Christian grandmother is perturbed by the extent of human cruelty when a serial killer (the Misfit) murders her after doing the same to her family in cold blood. This publication discusses the spiritual concern issues that are cited in O’Connors work. She uses the character of the grandmother to articulate these issues. According to the grandmother, the modern world has become excessively full of mistrust and evil. In his conversation with Red Sammy, the Misfit ought to get saved and receive Jesus.
She argues that all those who accept Jesus are saved. However, the misfit seems adamant in his refusal to accept God. Later in a conversation between the grandmother and the Misfit, the latter reveals that there is no happiness in the world and justifies his apparent meanness. The spiritual shift of the grandmother merges with the compassion she has for the serial killer to accept Jesus just before her death.
The Misfit on the other hand vents out merciless wrath on the grandmother’s apparent recognition of him. This leads to his killing of an entire family. This portrays the fact that there are very diabolical people in the world. Such people derive satisfaction out of being evil to innocent people in the society.
The Misfit is not present in the story until the final moments of the story after the story. However, his influence is felt throughout the story. She forebodes doom with her apparent rejection to go to Florida. Regardless, Baileys decides to still take the family to Florida. The story reaches its peak when the misfit finally meets the grandmother. The Misfit is angered by the fact that he has been recognized by the grandmother.
His friends take her family to the woods and shoot them dead. The grandmother wails over the loss of her family. She pleads with the misfit to change his way and accept Jesus but to no avail. The story reveals the self-righteous nature who still pleads with the misfit to change his way even when he kills her. The misfit is a blood-thirsty person. He kills everyone irrespective: including women and children.
This is a tale of God’s grace and how it can redeem people. In her conversation with Red Sammy Butts, the grandmother complains about the increased number of bad people in the world. She reminisces the good old days when there were few cases of vices in the society. She is nostalgic about the past days. Despite her Christian faith, she admits that there are no trustworthy people out there. The grace of God is a dominant theme in this story. This is seen by the encounter between the grandmother and the Misfit. The unfortunate accident that the family gets drives them into the hands of the Misfit. The Misfit sees no pleasure in being mean to people. He is wanted by the authorities for his crimes.
The confrontation between the two is a show of both self-righteousness and evil. The Misfit murders the Grandmothers family by shooting them in the woods. He shows no remorse for his actions. He then heads to kill the Grandmother but even then she is still convinced that he can be still redeemed by the grace of God. All he has to do is to accept Him and quit his sinful ways. The Misfit seems not to hear any of this as he goes ahead to kill the old lady. It is after this that he no longer sees pleasure in meanness. In the end, both characters receive some form of Grace.
In conclusion, O’Connor’s work evidently cuts across the principles and beliefs upheld by the Christian religion. These include matters pertaining to salvation, redemption and faith. This is a story of two individuals who are on different sides of morality. The first, the grandmother is portrayed as a Christian faithful who continues to profess the belief that anybody can receive salvation. The Misfit, on the other hand, is an excessively malicious individual who derives pleasure by being mean to other people. He denies the Grandmother’s plea to accept Jesus until her death. However, he reconsiders his position after he kills her. O’Connor has ingeniously addresses the spiritual issues of the Christian religion through this fiction story. In general, the story ends up with extremely sadistic tendencies that should not be translated to the realities of the Christian world. The real search for salvation and Grace should be not traced to the story because of its fiction nature.
Kelley, S. (2008). A Good Man is Hard to find. University of Massachusetts.
Stephene, B. (1996). One of my babies: The misfit and the Grandmother. Winter.
Tonic, L. (2012). Analysis of Flannery O' Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find.