The Good, the Misfit, and the Grandmother

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The Good, the Misfit, and the Grandmother The concept of what makes a “good” person has been the subject of much debate. Such is the case in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” the main character, the grandmother, struggles to find the qualities of a good person both in others and in herself. O’Connor uses literary elements such as flashback and characterization to explore what it means to be a good person. It appears as the only good person in the story is the person the grandmother becomes through her struggle with the Misfit. O’Connor seems to suggest that only through conflict of religion can the “good” be found. Bailey's mother views herself as a proper southern lady—genteel, upright, and wise but to the reader; her actions reveal her as another person. She primps excessively, lies, and uses racist language, like using the words “pickaninny” and “riggers” to describe a child of African descent. She begrudges America's goodwill contributions to postwar Europe, and foolishly blurts out that she recognizes The Misfit. The beginning of the story starts off with the Grandmother trying to persuade her family not to take the road trip to Florida. She brings up the release of the Misfit, a serial killer, saying "I couldn't answer to my conscience" if the family came across him as if she was referring to herself. From here, every decision or thought made by the Grandmother steers her wrong, as a consequence for ignoring her first instinct. The Grandmother is first in the car, ready to go. She dresses like a lady "just in case" something may happen to her. Her attire consists of white violets, which typically represent purity, innocence, and in some cases, death. When the Grandmother says, "You wouldn't shoot a lady, would you?" forgetting about the mother of the children suggesting her soul is purer than the rest of the characters mentioned. Also,

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