8 April 2018
Research Paper on Theme in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
Flannery O’Connor was a young upcoming author. Unfortunately she passed away due to “…lupus before her fortieth birthday” (“Intro to” 1357). However, with that said she was still able to write two novels and an abundance of short stories. Amongst those was short stories is, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. While writing this story she intertwined a vast amount of literary devices. Though when reading this particular work, theme is the device that stands out far from the rest. The fight between good and evil in this short story is clear, but it message that can be learned that her audience must grasp to completely understand her work. For the readers to completely catch what Ms. O’Connor is trying to get across in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, they must understand theme in this work.
To begin with, the stories starts off by the father wanting to take his family on a vacation. Though everyone is excited his mother, known as the grandmother in the story warns him that going to Florida is not the best idea, “The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida” (361 O’Connor).With the story beginning with this statement, it sends a message to the audience and immediately introduces the first possible theme in this work. Knowing how the story ends, means that one knows the family against the grandmother’s wishes travel to Florida. Yet the vacation took a turn for the worse, proving that the grandmother’s intuition was correct. The theme that O’Connor could be trying to portray is that one should always listen to their mother no matter how old they get. If her son would have listed to his mother, and gone to a different location for the family trip they would not have all died. Yet, being a grown up and having a family of his own, the dad decided not listen to his mother and in turn cost him the lives of the ones he holds closest to him. The good and evil theme is present in this in two ways. The good part in this was the grandmother informing her son that she did not want to go to Florida. Yet the Evil was her son’s conscious that encouraged him to go anyway and not mind his mom. The second part would be the effect of the father’s actions. According to an article by John Desmond, “The Misfit openly acknowledges his own evil” (Desmond). The evil would be the death of his family and the good would be everything prior to their last breaths.
In conclusion, the role that theme plays within this novel is critical to understanding it completely. The theme of Good and Evil takes center stage, “having built up the theme of human goodness throughout the text, goodness is radically challenged and redefined in the story’s conclusion” (Omnus). Though the grandmother in the story warns her son that there are dangerous people in Florida, representing the evil in the story. The family representing the good in O’Connor’s work. Though they did nothing wrong and were not looking for any trouble it still found them. With that O’Connor’s message could be, that one should always listen to their mother no matter how old they get, because they know best. Or on the other hand it does not matter what anyone does, if it is meant to be it will be. In this particular novel the family was meant to lose to the evil guys in the story and there was nothing that they could do to change that fate.
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 11th ed., edited by Michael Meyer, Bedford, 2016, pp. 361-371.
Omnus, Wiebke. “Religion in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”” Encyclopedia of Themes in Literature, 3-Volume Set, Facts On File, 2010. Bloom’s Literature, Accessed 10 May 2018.
Desmond, John and Charles E. May. “Flannery O’Connor’s Misfit and the Mystery of Evil.” Critical Insights: Flannery O’Connor, 16 Sept. 2011, pp. 144-154. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-gamc.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true;db=lfh;AN=70884149;site=lrc-live.