Flannery O’Connor was a diligent Catholic author and a Georgia resident

Flannery O’Connor was a diligent Catholic author and a Georgia resident. She wrote Southern Gothic Literature, which is written works of literature in the South part of America during the mid-20th century. This type of literature consisted of morbid, disturbing or fantastic characters and circumstances in the stories. O’Connor relied on her religious beliefs and regional experiences as a source of inspiration for all her stories. In the story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, a family is taking a vacation to Florida, but the real journey takes place inside the family’s lives. One important question is brought up in the story and that is what a good man is defined as and how there is so few of them left in the world. Many of the characters in this story think of themselves to be kind-hearted people based on morals that they lived and stood by. These morals are strongly flawed which leaves each character blinded by their own self-righteousness. The grandmother plays a significant role in the book, exposing the real theme.
The grandmother is the central and one of the most important characters in the story. The grandmother is a pretentious, manipulative and self-centered woman who is still stuck in her old ways. She doesn’t appreciate life as it is, but praises what is was like long ago. O’Connor presents her as being a prudish and elegant lady dress in white gloves, a hat and suit. She goes to extreme lengths to get whatever she wants and she doesn’t let anyone get in the way of that. She loves to justify her demands, and she does this by convincing the family and herself that her way may not be the best way, but it will be the way things go. She’s determined to change the family’s vacation destination and insists to her son that they should go to Tennessee instead of Florida.
The grandmother distinguishes herself as having the best moral values. She completely overdresses for the trip, so if an accident was to occur people would know she was a lady. In the story the O’Connor points out that she looks down upon other people as well. In the beginning of the story, she criticizes the mother for “not taking the children around the world and being broad” (O’Connor 1), and tells the boy, John Wesley that he should be more respectful to his parents. Despite her being so judgmental, she never criticizes her own untruthfulness, false virtue, and arrogance. When she criticizes John about the state, she calls a young black boy “a cute pickaninny” in the same sentence (O’Connor 2). She later goes to say that little black children do not have things like they do and that “if she could paint, she would paint that picture” (O’Connor 2). The grandmother paints this picture later with a romance story of the good days back then on the Southern plantations. Her interpretation of a good man is even flawed. She goes on to say she would’ve married Edgar Teagarden because “he was a gentleman who bought Coca-Cola stock, making him a rich man” (O’Connor 3).
Toward the end the family meets three fugitives. One just so happen to be the Misfit. He and the other men mislead the family into the thinking they would assist them into fixing the car. Instead they’re lured into the woods and later killed. When the Misfit is killing her family members one by one, she tells him to pray for himself. But she never once prays for her own family or begs the Misfit to spare them. She is even overdramatic when she pulls out a handkerchief to cool off herself and says to the Misfit “you wouldn’t really kill a lady now would you” (O’Connor 13), adequately trying to save herself instead of trying to save her family.
The connection between the theme and grandmother underlies the truth in the story. Although the grandmother sets herself to a high morals and standards, she lacks compassion and self-awareness. Even though the Misfit’s moral code was corrupt, it was also strong and consistent, which allowed him to live his life by it. He is true to himself and does not lie about who he really is, unlike the grandmother does. A good man is hard to find in this story. When Red Sam told the grandmother about the time he had gotten swindled for the gas, she explains to him that he’s a good man. She explains to the Misfit he is a good man because she believes that he would not shoot a lady. What she fails to realize is that she is not calling people good because they are moral, but because their values are the same as hers. The only good man to be shown throughout the story is the Misfit, because even though he has a corrupt moral code, he is the only one that is committed to his principles. He ends up killing everyone, including the grandmother. Thus, showing the important theme of the story, which is everyone is sinful of something and all have sinned.