Posted at 10.06.2018
In Flannery O'Connor's brief story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find", a southern family is going for a vacation to Florida, but the real journey takes place inside the family's lives. One question that arises in the storyline is what the definition of a good man is and how there is certainly so few of them left on the planet. Lots of the characters in the storyplot think of themselves as good people based on moral codes that they the stand by position. These moral codes are deeply flawed however, going out of each identity blinded by their own self-righteousness.
The Grandmother recognizes herself as having the best beliefs. She completely overdresses for the trip in a "navy straw hat and collars and cuffs, so that if there was a major accident, people would know she was a lady" (368). The narrator highlights that she appears down upon other folks as well. In the beginning of the storyline, she criticizes the mother for "not taking the children to various areas of the globe and being broad" (367), and says John Wesley that he "should become more respectful of his local state and his parents" (368). Despite being so judgmental, the Grandmother never criticizes her own dishonesty, hypocrisy, and selfishness. When she criticizes John Wesley about their state, she calls just a little black youngster "a lovely pickaninny" (368) in the same word. She later says that little dark kids do not have things like they are doing which "if she could color, she would coloring that picture" (368). The Grandmother paints this picture later with an enchanting story of the nice old days on the Southern plantations. Her meaning of a good man is even flawed. The narrator says she would have wedded Edgar Teagarden because "he was a gentleman who bought Coca-Cola stock, making him a rich man" (369). In the end, when the Misfit is getting rid of her family members one at a time, she instructs him to pray for himself. But she never once prays for her own family or begs the Misfit to free them. She is even dramatic when she pulls a handkerchief out to buff herself and tells the Misfit "you wouldn't kill a lady would you" (373), effectively striving to save herself instead of her family.
The Misfit seems like an unlikely person to acquire morals, but he has a deep thought process that other heroes seem to lack. The Misfit may be considered a reprobate with perverted morals; he is consistent and sticks by them. The Misfit is very alert to himself, sharing with the Grandmother "I'm not a good man, but I'm not the most detrimental either" (374). With this consistency and self-awareness, the Misfit can rely on his moral code, however twisted, to steer him in his life. This is absolutely shown in the long run of the storyplot when Bobby Lee suggest that is will need to have been fun to take the Grandmother, in which the Misfit replies "it's no real pleasure in life to wipe out anyone" (377). He has learned he must kill her and sticks with it. This is in sharp compare to the Grandmother, who fails to live by her own moral code throughout the storyline.
The values and morals that folks have make up their identity. Moral rules are only a couple of beliefs that a culture thinks to be right. The Grandmother believes that beliefs are based about how you look and where you result from. Despite thinking of herself as a female, she manipulates and deceives those closest to her. Even though the Grandmother sets herself to a high standard, she lacks compassion and self-awareness. The Misfit's moral code, although twisted, is strong and constant, allowing him to live his life by it. He's true to himself and does not rest about who he is, unlike the Grandmother. A good man is absolutely difficult to find in this storyline. When Red Sam tells the Grandmother the storyline about him getting swindled for the gas, she message or calls him a good man. She then tries to inform the Misfit he is a good man because she feels he would not shoot a female. What she fails to realize is that she is not phoning people good because they're moral, but because their prices are the same as hers. The sole good man to be shown throughout the storyplot is the Misfit, because even though he has a twisted and perverted moral code, he is the only the one that sticks to his ideas.
Word Count: 906