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A good man is hard to find shmoop

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JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. It's a little hard to know how to introduce a story as totally polarizing as "A Good Man is Hard to Find. However you choose to define "A Good Man Is Hard To Find"—and we usually define it as "all of the above"—chances are pretty good that you're going to be marked or should we say scarred? The setup: a family dotty grandma, bratty kids, angry cat set out on a road trip to Florida. Being cooped up in the car together brings out everyone's worst qualities: the children are annoying and entitled, the grandma is wistfully nostalgic and racist, and the dad is a grouch.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: A Good Man Is Hard To Find, by Flannery O'Connor (SHORT STORY SATURDAY)

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Understanding "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

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JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. It's a little hard to know how to introduce a story as totally polarizing as "A Good Man is Hard to Find. However you choose to define "A Good Man Is Hard To Find"—and we usually define it as "all of the above"—chances are pretty good that you're going to be marked or should we say scarred?

The setup: a family dotty grandma, bratty kids, angry cat set out on a road trip to Florida. Being cooped up in the car together brings out everyone's worst qualities: the children are annoying and entitled, the grandma is wistfully nostalgic and racist, and the dad is a grouch. Plus, the grownups are a little nervous—and a little titillated—to know that a dangerous murderer named The Misfit has escaped from the penitentiary and is also headed to the Sunshine State.

We're not going to give you all the details about what happens when the family gets lost on a disused back road Even during O'Connor's lifetime, her works provoked strong reactions among readers and critics. The naysayers found them consistently grotesque in their depiction of debased, repulsive and usually unsympathetic characters and their spectacular displays of violence or cruelty. O'Connor, though, saw all of her fiction—including this story—as realistic, demandingly unsentimental, but ultimately hopeful.

Her inspiration as a writer came from a deeply felt faith in Roman Catholicism, which she claimed informed all of her stories.

The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism. Source: The Habit of Being , p.

A recurrent theme throughout her writings was the action of divine grace in the horribly imperfect, often revolting, and generally funny world of human beings. This story affords perhaps the best place to start in exploring the work of O'Connor—after all, it was the collection A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories that established Flannery O'Connor as a major voice in American literature, and a modern master of the short story.

Will you love this story? Will you hate it? That's as hard to say as a good man is to find—it really depends on your worldview and the strength of your stomach. But what's not impossible to determine is this fact: you're not going to forget "A Good Man To Find" anytime soon. But it really alludes to a very philosophical, very-much-not- Cosmo -esque question of ethics: what makes a person good?

By pitting an average old grandma against a criminal who appears certifiably evil by just about anyone's standards, Flannery O'Connor's surprisingly deep little story really opens up that question. Yup; Flannery O'Connor essentially crams a five-hundred-page philosophical treatise into a fifteen page story. And the deep dive into ethics doesn't stop there: "A Good Man is Hard to Find" also makes us think about the possibility of dramatic transformation in a person.

Having just lost all of her family and threatened with death herself, the old grandmother appears to undergo a sudden and miraculous change of heart: she reaches out lovingly to the very person who has killed those she loves and is about to kill her and tells him that he's her baby.

This act, of course, opens up ever more Q's on the nature of goodness: how can we understand such an act of forgiveness? Can it only be understood religiously, as O'Connor would argue? What might the extreme situation have to do with bringing about such a moment? Can such a sudden transformation really happen at all, or should we dismiss it? We'll stop asking you these questions Has biography, resources, and also manages access to O'Connor's manuscripts not online.

Has biography, essays, links, etc. The Andalusia Foundation The website for the Andalusia Foundation, dedicated to preserving and promoting the understanding of O'Connor's work. It's also responsible for preserving her farmhouse. Fifteen minutes. Here's a live video of him performing the song. Flannery's Workspace Flannery's desk and typewriter. Study Guide.

By Flannery O'Connor. Others think it's a uproarious black comedy—like a film by the Coen Bros or a twisted R. Crumb comic. Still others think it's an uplifting depiction of the mysterious ways God works through human beings over and above their own wills. Or you could think of it, quite simply, as a horror story. She wrote: The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism.

So: is a good man hard to find? Is being "good" a matter of being respectable or decent? Having a good upbringing, or good blood?

Being religious? Kind and honest? Or is it something more demanding? How does genuine goodness square with the way human beings actually are—with their pettiness, their selfishness, their annoying little quirks and vanities? What does it mean to be not good , and what does it mean to be evil? And—a particularly important question in the story—do we need religion to answer any, or all, of these questions?

A Good Man is Hard to Find

They drove off again into the hot afternoon. The grandmother took cat naps and woke up every few minutes with her own snoring. Outside of Toombsboro she woke up and recalled an old plantation that she had visited in this neighborhood once when she was a young lady.

Schools and Districts: We offer customized programs that won't break the bank. A good man is hard to find just ask politics , and a good short story can be even harder. Who knew the South could be so scary?

Log In. Do you think the moment of grace is a moment of grace? Why or why not? How does the story change if it isn't? If the grandmother's moment of grace isn't actually a moment of grace, what is it?

Teaching A Good Man is Hard to Find

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Think you've got your head wrapped around A Good Man is Hard to Find? Put your knowledge to the test. Good luck — the Stickman is counting on you!

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Comments: 1
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