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A Good Man Is Hard To Find

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Gavan Evans

Mr.Hurt

English 112-70

8 February 2006

A Good Man Is Hard To Find

On earth, we see many forms of good verses evil. It has been a matter of debate since the beginning of humankind. Flannery O' Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" deals directly with this conflict. Flannery O' Conner uses the phrase "a good man is hard to find" to help define her view of the decline of kindness in her southern culture. She also uses this phrase to open up the debate to include Christianity and its over all effect on the issue, as well as to the question what really defines someone as being "a good man." A Good Man is Hard to Find symbolizes the Christian faith through symbolism, the theme, and the characters.

Before the story begins, O'Connor provides us with a quote. It says. "The Dragon is by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the father of souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem 644). This quote gives an overview of the story's events. The Dragon relates to how the family sets out on a road trip to Florida and the Misfit and his accomplices consequently devour the family. The Misfit exemplifies the dragon with his appearance. He finds the family on the side of the road just like the quotes states, "The dragon is by the side of the road..." Then he literally devours them, and finally delivers the grandmother to the father of souls.

There is a lot of symbolism in this story that relates to Christianity. The fact that the family had strayed from the main path onto a side road symbolizes how people often stray from Jesus and follows the wrong path spiritually. The town's name, Toombsboro is a symbol of death. This was the town that the grandmother thought the old farm was. This was also, where she became sidetracked, again like her faith in Jesus. In the car, John Wesley and June Star were playing a game by guessing the shape of the clouds in the sky. The clouds represent the grandmother's superficial faith. She starts off her journey wearing white gloves, white being a symbol of purity that all sinners have in the beginning of life's journey. She dressed herself with a purple spray of flowers just in case she died. It was when she knew she was going to die that the grandmother started to preach the gospel to the Misfit. At the end of the story, there were no clouds. "There was not a cloud in the sky nor any sun" (O'Connor 654). The clouds had faded away and the sky was empty, just like the grandmother's faith was empty. The graveyard in the plantation is a symbol of death and the quote, "It was a big black battered hearse-like automobile," symbolizes that their transportation to death had arrived (O'Connor 650).

The theme is strongly supported throughout the entire story and is stated in the title itself, "A Good Man is Hard to Find." The grandchildren, the Misfit and in the end Jesus Himself support this theme. At the beginning of the story the grandmother states, "I wouldn't take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose on it. I couldn't answer to my conscious if I did" (O'Connor 644). Suddenly she is put in the situation of trying to answer her conscious by falsely trying to convince herself that the Misfit is a good man. When the Misfit plainly admits, "Nome, I ain't a good man," she resorts to Jesus (O'Connor 652). The Misfit then blames Jesus for his actions. He tries to compare Jesus to himself by saying that "Jesus threw everything off balance" and was punished for sins he did not commit just as he was punished for crimes he did not commit (O'Connor 654). However, in the end the theme carries on that "a good man is hard to find." The grandmother's false hope in Jesus seemed to crumble when He did not "save her" once more showing in a religious sense that "a good man is hard to find."

In the story, the grandmother is the central character. Until the final paragraphs of the story, the grandmother is a selfish and controlling person. She is set in her old fashioned ways. She undergoes a change at the end of the story during

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