Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah Georgia, on March 25, 1925. In her works she portrays the southern character and atmosphere. Her obsession with the grotesque is revealed in the dark and morbid plots of her stories. In the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” she uses Christianity as a fundamental thesis. The search for the meaning of the Christian faith in the story is based on her view that modern society was changing for the worst. O’Connor views the lifestyles of the elite Southern people to be a front.
This story focuses on Christianity being filled with sin and punishment, good and evil, belief and unbelief. The grandmother fully tells her opinion as she tries to convince the Misfit that he is a good Christian man before he kills her. The grandmother is representative of Christianity which O’Connor apparently believed to be more hypocritical than prevalent in the traditional Old South, “the grandmother had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim and a navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print. Her collar and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace, and at her neckline, she pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet.
In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (138).
In this reading, the prominence is on purity and southern Christianity as if she is getting ready to attend church. The grandmother displays the proper image of a southern Christian woman in the presence of other people. Her clothing, her perfection, and her attitude are perceived as truly religious. In reality, the grandmother is exceptionally selfish.
... the Misfit is introduced to the story and the grandmother ironically meets him face to face, O Connor s use of foreshadowing illustrates ... Eating breakfast and reading the paper, a southern family is preparing to depart for their vacation to Florida. ... (the grandmother) is described as an unusually well dressed older woman that says she believes in the old-time Christian value system ...
She preaches and gives sermons throughout the story yet in the face of danger she thinks only of herself. The grandmother uses gender roles, “you wouldn’t shoot a lady would you,” (147) and religious images to try to save herself. She preaches and prays to the Misfit as if he is Jesus, “Jesus… you ” ve got good blood, Jesus you ought not to shoot a lady” (151, 152) she radiates an aura of holiness at the same time sounding self-serving. The Misfit symbolizes evil. At one point, the Misfit likens himself to Christ, stressing the fact that they were punished for crimes they did not commit.
Christ accepted death for the sins of all people. In contrast, the Misfit did not accept reprimand and killed many innocent people instead. “yes’m: the Misfit said as if he agreed. “Jesus thrown everything off balance.
It was the same case with Him as with me except he hadn’t committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had papers on me” (151).
Near the closing stages of suffering, the grandmother’s total religious transformation comes upon her while facing the final moments of her life. She is facing the Misfit listening to him reminisce on his life with his mother and father. At that moment, the grandmother realizes that everyone is a child from God above. She wants the Misfit to realize God forgives everyone and is saved by the grace of God. “Why you ” re one of my babies.
You ” re one of my own children” (152).
The Misfit, in his exploitation of Christ, acts as judge and executioner to the grandmother, “the Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest” (152).
In this quote, the implication may be on Christian theologies, since the Misfit believes he exemplifies God’s grace by eliminating the evil and introducing the three virtues. The Misfit transforms the grandmother into a childlike state in death illustrating his beliefs that he has given her a fresh start or rebirth, as Jesus did.
... by Christians. By preaching the word of God, Jesus Christ elevated himself to the status of not only ... Kampf (My Struggles) dictated Hitlers objectives to his people, and it was these objectives that would lead ... medieval Holy Wars in which millions of innocent people were slaughtered for their faith.Not only did ... within the wars of the holy, but many people also died because of charges of Heresy. These ...
The religious interpretation of this story is the focal point of O’Connor’s faith in the Catholic religion. The constant emphasis on Christ, prayer and devoted Southern Christianity is an excellent illustration of her concerns for people and religion. She believed that Christ was no longer a priority to the people of her generation, and the values and directions of the youth were heading down the wrong path.