Flannery O’Connor, (1925-1964 was an American writer who wrote novels and short stories focused on humanity's spiritual deformity and flight from redemption. Her works earned her a unique place in 20th-century American fiction. Her works includes the novels namely ‘Wise Blood’ (1952) and ‘The Violent Bear It Away’ (1960) and the short-story collections are ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’ (1955) and ‘Everything that Rises Must Converge’.
In the story ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’, Connor has narrated the episode from the grandmother’s point of view. Like most elderly people, the grandmother thinks of her as the most well informed person and always trying to teach moralities and talk about past. The family consisting of parents and three children wanted to go to Florida but the grandmother wished to visit some of her relations in east Tennessee. The family did not agree with grandmother. She showed her son a newspaper report about a killer who escaped from the prison. She warned her not to go to Florida as the killer is reportedly in the surroundings heading towards Florida. However, nobody took a serious notice of what she said and started for Florida. Grandmother took along her cat despite of the resistance of her son, as she feared that if the cat is left alone at home, it might hurt himself.
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On their way they stopped by a roadside restaurant to have sandwiches. The grandmother discussed the glories of past with the restaurant owner while they ate their food. Both of them talked about the memories of past when people used to be good and honest and possessed high ethical and moral values. After taking little break they restarted their journey. On the way the grandmother suddenly recalled a house she visited once in her youth. She knew that Bailey, her son, would not waste his time on visiting an old house.
She therefore, started telling myths about that house to arouse the interest of the children. It did and the children started forcing their father to visit the place. The father submitted to the children’s wish and turned back towards the house. While driving on the muddy road, grandmother suddenly shuddered with some horrible thought and the disturbance made the cat sprung out of his basket onto the shoulders of Bailey in the driving seat.
The sudden blow made him out of balance and car turned round and landed right-side-up in a gorge off the side of the road. There they stopped shivering of fear and sat in the gorge beside the road. Grandmother was embarrassed as when she recalled that the house was not there but in Tennessee and was thinking of her responsible for the accident. In the meantime they saw a car approaching and grandmother waved it to stop. The car stopped with three men in it. One of them looked familiar to grandmother and all of a sudden she recognized him as the killer of the newspaper story. She started telling her old lesson of moralities and goodness to the killers but in the end they killed all six.
The question now is that who is responsible for the incident? Apparently the attitude of grandmother seems to be responsible for it. In the first place, she forced her son to go to house that was not even located there. Afterwards when they came across the killers, she announced to recognize them that made the killers to eliminate the family.
Had she ever committed any folly was not intentional but of innocence. We cannot blame anyone for the accident but fate. The murder of the family would have been prevented if the killer been a good man as grandmother told him. However, it’s a truth that a good man is always hard to find.
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