Flannery O’Connor’s short story, A Good Man is Hard to Find, tells the story of an old woman and her family including the son, his wife and their two children who go on a journey, which finally leads to the extermination of the entire group by an escaped convict known as the “Misfit.” The story’s main theme is the selfishness of the grandmother, who despite pretending to be a God-fearing person, does not have an element of spirituality in her. She is led by her vanity and selfishness, which ultimately results in the liquidation of the whole family by the escaped prisoner.
The selfishness of the woman becomes evident from the fact that she disregards the wishes of the children who want to go to Florida. On the other hand, she intends to meet “some of her connections in East Tennessee” and, thus, forces her will upon her son (O’Connor 31). The irony of the situation is that the grandmother mentions the escaped convict as the reason for not going to Florida but the family is waylaid by the same convict on their way to Tennessee. Thus, it transpires that the grandmother’s selfish motive becomes the reason for the family’s misfortune.
Though the grandmother pretends to be a God-fearing person, she holds no values for other humans until the very end when she apprehends the moment of death and admits that the “Misfit” is also a son of God like the other humans. Through the entire story, the author shows the human weakness of selfishness and vanity, which becomes the reason for the death of a whole family. In order to create an impact of the situations on the audience, the author uses irony and thereby effectively portrays the weakness in her character.
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find. United States of America: Rutgers, 1993. 31-54. Web.