Symbolic Title Of O'Connor's Work "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"

The title, A Good Man is hard to Find, is symbolic in the sense that it represents recurring themes throughout the narrative. Additionally, the author employs the comprehensive use of reprehensible characters to demonstrate the inherent nature of the notions and belief surrounding the Christian faith. The use of such characters is deliberately employed to bring out the underlying weakness of Christians which eventually culminates in their search for grace and redemption.

Throughout the plot of the story, the grandmother is perceived as employing the use of the tag “good” in an extensive manner. This may be depicted in the conversation between the grandmother and Sammy where she actively criticizes his character. First, she utilizes the label in reference to Sammy following his complaints that the general credibility of people seems to have faded. The grandmother then questions as to why Sammy had let two swindling strangers put a price tag on their gasoline. Furthermore, she remarks that Sammy allows the situation to prevail because he is a 'good man'. In such a scenario, her description of 'good' is implicit since she is referring to Sammy's aspects of blind faith, gullibility and poor judgment all of which are not intrinsically 'good'. Moreover, in her conversations with the Misfit, she utilizes the label 'good' when referring to the Misfit who is a fugitive on the run after being accused of being a murderer (O’Connor 9).

Indeed, the grandmother recognizes the perpetrator and attempts to appeal to his moral sense by questioning the assailant as to whether he would shoot a lady. In essence, the grandmother considers the aspect of being a lady as being divine hence she refers to the assailant as a “good man” with the intent of convincing the assailant not to kill her. A closer look at her definition of “good” is seemingly lopsided as she also claims that the Misfit does not have “common blood”. The grandmother’s interpretation of a “good man” does not necessarily infer to an individual’s moral character. According to the grandmother, a person may be referred to as a “good man” if his values are affiliated with her own.

The conversations between the Misfit and the grandmother portrays them as the unlikely recipients of grace regardless of their flaws, weaknesses and sinful nature. Christian doctrines stipulate that human beings are accorded salvation through the favor and grace of God which is bestowed even to the most unworthy of individuals. This implies that God as a Supreme Being has the authority to permit even sinners to enter the gates of heaven by granting such individuals his grace. The shortcomings of the grandmother are illustrated when she is perceived to be manipulative to her son and deliberately tells lies to her grandchildren (O’Connor 10). Such a characterization reveals an individual who is lacking in self-efficacy and seems to be oblivious of the world that surrounds her. She apparently appears to be sure of her own moral superiority which compels her to believe that she can pass judgment on the goodness of others including determining the direction of life that others ought to emulate. Nevertheless, she appears to demonstrate innate moral flaws. For instance, she instructs the Misfit to conduct a prayer yet she is unable to articulate a coherent prayer by herself. Additionally, she progressively becomes skeptical of Jesus' ability to raise people from the dead as her fears grow of her impending predicament (O’Connor 13). Besides, the Misfit is depicted as an unremorseful murderer who is not worthy even of life itself yet he emerges as being a recipient of grace.

29 April 2022
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