In her book “A good man is hard to find”

In the characters’ voice and behavior, as well as imagery and incidents, Flannery O’Connor advances the concept of discord and affection in families and relationships in her novel “A good man is hard to find.” The author continues the text by emphasizing the family members’ hatred and contempt towards one another, and how this leads to tension, which brings out the love and caring that they should have for one another. The text conveys the concept of family affection and strife and attempts to understand human existence, depicting man as a profoundly imperfect and immoral creature. The central theme advanced in “A good man is hard to find” is the theme of familial love and hate. The text is developed around a dysfunctional family of 6 going for a vacation before they meet untimely deaths after wrecking their car in some secluded woods. The book aims to demonstrate human nature by using a family; which is the basic unit of human society.
During the opening scene, we can see that the family members namely Bailey his wife and two children disrespecting the grandmother by ignoring and mocking her. In the end, after her requests to go to Tennessee are ignored she grows nostalgic after seeing an abandoned plantation which she then thinks is familiar to her. Knowing that she would be most likely be rebuffed by her son, the grandmother tells a lie about a secret panel to get the children interested (Tucker, Sophie, & Eddie, 11). It works, and the family heads off into the woods midway, the grandmother realizes that she mistook the plantation with another and her shock brings bout a chain of activities that ends with a car crashing. This gets worse when the Misfit, a serial killer, comes across the family and kills everyone after the grandmother identifies him. One cannot help but ask themselves if the family would have had a different fate had they overcome their flaws in character such as selfishness and lack of respect. Had the family been respectful of the opinions of the grandmother, she would not have been motivated to lie using the Misfit`s story and thus would have never been able to recognize him. After examining the text, one wonders whether human nature is shaped by the environment in which we live in because it is clear the grandmother was not respected and thus had to lie all the time. The text shows how bad human nature is, which more often than not leads us to destruction with people changing when it is too late.
The characters in the text demonstrate familial conflict on various occasions with the major one being during the opening scene. The children can be seen openly mocking their grandmother who in normal circumstances should elicit love and respect from her grandchildren. They disrespect their grandmother by rudely suggesting that she stays if she doesn’t feel like joining the rest of the family members in Florida. To which June retorted “She wouldn’t stay at home to be queen for a day,” (Tucker, Sophie, & Eddie, 2) The grandmother appears unfazed by this and even retorts back to the little girl by saying “Just remember that the next time you want me to curl your hair.” (Tucker, Sophie, & Eddie, 2) That indicated that the awkward exchange was considered normal behavior within that household since none of the adults reprimanded the children for their callousness. The author has used imagery to reinforce the words and actions of the characters in the text. The grandmother sitting in the middle seat of the car which is the most uncomfortable seat in the car and usually reserved for children is indicative of contempt (Tucker, Sophie, & Eddie, 3). The image of her tapping on Bailey`s head while being ignored is indicative of the conflict between the two with the grandmother being on the receiving end. Even the narrator hints at there being conflict in the opening scene by saying “The children’s mother didn’t seem to hear.” (Tucker, Sophie, & Eddie, 2) The narrator is insinuating that the mother heard but chose to ignore the grandmother who gave John Wesley a chance to cut in with a rude remark.
Being ignored by her son pushes the grandmother to lie about the plantation so that the children would plead on her behalf. After the car crashes and the Misfit start executing them, that is when the previously waring family members begin to express some of the love they have for one another. Which can be seen when they huddled together after realizing the helpful stranger was the misfit and Bailey telling his mother “I’ll be back in a minute, Mamma, wait on me!” (Tucker, Sophie, & Eddie, 21) The grandmother shows love for her son by crying after shots are heard in the woods, she later even extends this love to the Misfit after talking to him about praying. Despite the circumstances, she tried to show The Misfit there was still good in him by showing love and understanding; she even got him to talk about his family.
The theme of conflict and love plays an essential role in the text as it is used to develop the characters and in advancing the plot. The main characters in the book are introduced to the audience as members of a dysfunctional family who are continually exhibiting contempt for one another. This disregard is what led the grandmother to lie about the plantation where the family met their untimely deaths; after showing the love that they had for each other. The text explains how human nature is flawed whereby people act callously towards people they love and usually do the right thing when irreversible damage has been done.

Work Cited
Tucker, Sophie, and Eddie Green. “A Good Man Is Hard To Find.” Pp 1-27.

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