Characters’ Behaviors in O’Connor’s Novel

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The story A Good Man Is Hard to Find, you look closely at the characters’ behaviors. Even though, the misfit is the main evil person in the story there is no telling how evil everyone else can be. The scene Im mostly concentrating on is between the grandmother and the misfit. The grandmother considers the misfit to solid faith, about what makes a good person. The grandmother is considered, the loud mouth Christian of the family. The misfit plays God by eliminating the evils of the grandmotherr’s family, while she tries to play along and says the misfit is another one of God’s children. Yes, the grandmother has her beliefs, but the misfit tries to persuade her that, faith requires observation in order to stand. After the grandmother dies in the story, she comes to the realization of salvation. While reading this short story, the grandmother comes upon the true meaning of belief and expands Christianity to the universe. (Teen Ink, 2017)

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There are many examples of symbolism in A Good Man Is Hard to Find. An example of religious symbolism was presented in the grandmotherr’s speech. The grandmother would use religious references when speaking with the misfit and her family members. When the grandmother says pray, pray demonstrates how the grandmother deals with conflict in her lifetime. The grandmother explained to the misfit, if you pray, Jesus would help you. She demonstrates that Christianity would love beyond the misfitr’s crimes. (Study Mode, 2011) Since the grandmother emphasizes the misfit to pray, she is criticized for being religious. The misfit and the grandmother, both live by moral codes. Moral codes are sets of beliefs and behaviors to live by what is reasonable. The grandmother has moral codes to try to make people become good. The misfit on the other hand, has consistent moral codes.

By being a convicted criminal, he believes crimes are a punishment, but doesnt really matter in the end. The misfit challenges his religious beliefs and tries to figure out a way to follow them. Her’s concluded being a religious person is pointless and wants to follow his own religion. In the story when the misfit murders the family, the grandmother plead for her life. She was certain the misfit would respect her moral code. The misfit in the story lacks moral guidance and questions the meaning of life. He carefully tries to find lesson within his actions. The misfit knows he isnt the greatest person in the world, but he does know there are people that are worse than him. The grandmotherr’s moral code in the story, ends up falling apart the moment itr’s challenged and the misfit views life the way he believes is right. The last moments of the grandmotherr’s life, she notices the misfitr’s strength and weaknesses. The misfit says that Jesus is the only one that ever raised the dead and shouldnt have done it. It was also said from the misfit, If He did what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow Him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can…by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness,. (O’Connor 22)

The author of A Good Man Is Hard to Find, places emphasis on people that have no Christian beliefs and finds interest in other things, then religion. He tries to get people reading this story, to experience real Christianity through symbolism throughout the entire story. He uses symbolism to describe how hard it is to find someone thatr’s good. This was brought out by the grandmother in the story. People in the story that has the same religion as the grandmother, tend to worship her. She is the woman who is defined as a true Christian. The misfitr’s behavior is used to take a toll on the grandmother to boost her faith. Although, seeing how the conversation goes between the grandmother and the misfit, you can tell the misfit has been through many struggles. By reading, you can see how the misfits mind works according to his behavior. In the story, the misfit is also used to represent the young generation when it comes down to being religious and the grandmother represents the old generation. What O’Connor tries to do, is capture the power of faith in someoner’s life.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find is one of those stories that can be viewed as a life lesson. Human beings will sometimes change as an individual or their opinions on a certain situation that we thought differently about. This conflicts the decisions we begin to make. The grandmother in the story explains her love for Christianity but doesnt pray whenever sher’s in a crisis. By questioning the power of God, it is obvious she isnt aware of her actions. You can tell in the story, that the grandmother thinks she has the right to judge greatness in others and wishes to tell them how to live their lives. When she was afraid of what would happen to her, she agreed with the misfit and then changes her mind about Jesus rising from the dead. At this point, the grandmother is confused about her beliefs of grace. The misfit was aware of Christianity and Jesus but doesnt believe anything until he sees it. (Study Mode, 2011)

The grandmother did at some point have a moment of grace after the misfit questioning what Jesus has done before sacrificing his life. She then says to him Why youre one of my babies, Youre one of my own children!. The grandmother realized they are both the same person despite their sins and weaknesses. Even though grace settles on both of them, they both have the potential to be saved by God. Before the grandmother dies, grace was given to her along with the misfit. In the beginning going back to when the misfit says no pleasure but meanness in life, the misfit declares there is no pleasure in life at all. Killing the grandmother and her whole family, brought him nothing but happiness and joy. OConner made the misfit seem like a good man for connecting with the grandmother when having a conversation and killing her right away. A question that I ask is, what wouldve happened to the grandmother if she met the misfit before going on the trip? Would the misfit ever get caught for killing the family? These are some questions I asked myself while reading this story. From the beginning of A Good Man Is Hard to Find, no one realized how it reflected to the ending. Towards the end of the story, the misfit says to himself She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life. (O’Connor 22)

Instead of spreading the value of Christianity to others, the grandmother manipulates people for her own benefit. The only moment of grace was mainly towards the end of the story when the misfit holds the gun towards her. It seems the misfit kills the grandmother last, since she gave him a chance to explain his life. The misfit basically used and played the grandmother the entire time. He questioned her about his past, spoked about being a good person and obeying God. Every action the grandmother made, came at a price of her own life. The misfit also recognized a few things about the grandmother towards the end of the story. One is despite her religious beliefs, she conveys herself as a good woman and to the misfit she is not. He also recognized when facing death, the grandmother had the chance to become a good woman. At the end of this short story he realized if the grandmother could have lived her life at gunpoint, she could have gained compassion that she lacked.

When I read this story, I didnt really expect for the grandmother to be so manipulating to her family. How can you be so religious and into Christianity, when you do bad things? The grandmother wasnt so different from the misfit after all. Yes, she was trying to get him to change his ways and was telling him to pray while going through problems, but she did not even pray herself. It seems to me the grandmother was never a family person. It also seems like she was trying to stay on the misfitr’s good side, but in the end Im sure she didnt know she was going to die herself. Along with her family members. Being a Christian means to stick with that religion, to be good, praise God, be kind and do what is expected of you. I guess the misfit had a plan the entire time of the story. To get the grandmother where he wants her, entertain her, then kill her. He did just that.

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Characters' Behaviors In O'Connor's Novel. (2019, Jun 10). Retrieved January 31, 2023 , from

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