Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Good Man is Hard to Find

A good man is hard to find especially when you are looking along the same road where the escapees from jail are. This short story by Flannery O'Connor is about a family that is going on a trip and the grandmother with her cunning ways, manipulates the children to go look at a house where one of her past suitors lived. There is a foreshadowing of the story at the beginning of the story when the grandmother is reading the paper and tells the family about the Misfit, a man that just escaped prison. This family is completely the opposite of what a perfect family is and it is noted that all of them are acting in a way that is not contributing to keeping the peace while on this trip. Once they do get on that dirt road the cat jumps out at Bailey and the car flips. When they are trying to get help the Misfit comes up and ends up killing the whole family while the grandmother is only trying to spare her own life. Then she gets shot herself and the story abruptly ends just like that.
This story was written during the 1950s when everybody was trying to achieve the perfect family status in their nice house with a white picket fence and two or three children. This family appears to be perfect but it is obviously not the case. The poor man cannot assert his manliness because he is being drowned out by the two women in his life-his mother (mostly) and wife. The grandma is really trying to make the decisions her son should be taking and doesn't even care about the daughter-in-law which is probably why her name is not even mentioned. The children are horrible little people. They don't care to do what their parents tell them and don't give a hoot about what the grandmother has to say to them either. The children have pretty much lost all of their respect for the older people and really like to voice their opinions. The one thing that stuck out in my mind was the way the grandmother took advantage of the whole situation so that they could do what she wanted and she did not even care that they were killing the rest of the family out in the woods. The only person she was worried about was herself until she realized how erred she was in her ideas and touched the man which resulted in her dying. Her actions made her the antithesis of a "good" woman.
The husband was really quite the character. He would get really annoyed by what the family was doing and then he would go off but later on he just did things the way they wanted instead of taking a stand. But if you look at many of the commercials and tv series, most of the time the man/husband is depicted as being the weaker, dumber person and the wife always makes the decisions for the household. And most of the time I hear that women want to be the ones to wear the pants in the relationship. So isn't this really what women want? They want to be the man in the relationship but when things happen like what we read in the story, the man is the one that gets the blame for acquiescing to what the rest of the family wanted. So the husband really could have done better but I am not sure if the women would have been pleased if he actually stood up to them and said no.

Why is the title "A Good Man is Hard to Find?"

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