A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Themes

This Custom-Writing.org article explains the key themes of A Good Man Is Hard to Find. Good vs. evil, religion, and death are the core issues represented in the short story by Flannery O’Connor.

Main themes in A Good Man Is Hard to Find are: good vs. evil, religion, and death.

👼 A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Good vs. Evil

Good vs. evil in A Good Man Is Hard to Find can be one of the most critical themes to mention in your essay. The Grandmother, with her fake morality, confronts the Misfit, who represents the bad guy. The old lady may seem the embodiment of all the goodness. But what lies below the surface matters. The analysis of the characters shows that we can’t say for sure who the antagonist is.

The Grandmother sees having good manners and grace as the signs of a “good man.” And then, she meets the escaped convict, a sinful murder and the total counterpart of the image of a “good man.” Still, the elderly lady tries to talk him out of killing her. Her behavior can most likely be explained by the desire to save her life and not his soul.

Meanwhile, the Misfit is entirely lost, trying to understand what’s right and wrong. He knows he is no saint, but he doesn’t see anything wrong in his actions. We can notice from some quotes that the Misfit’s sense of “goodness” is different when he comments on the Grandmother in the end. However, his real intentions are unclear, and they keep changing throughout his life.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Quotes on Good vs. Evil

Listen… I know you’re a good man. You don’t look a bit like you have common blood. I know you must come from nice people!

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

I found out the crime don’t matter. You can do one thing or you can do another, kill a man or take a tire off his car, because sooner or later you’re going to forget what it was you done and just be punished for it.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

✝️ A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Religion

Since the Grandmother is a believer, it comes as no surprise that religion in A Good Man Is Hard to Find is the central theme. She is convinced that she is the only good Christian among other characters, which ultimately makes her the embodiment of religious hypocrisy.

The climax of the story is the Grandmother’s and the Misfit’s conversation about Jesus. The lady tries to save her life by calling for the Misfit’s sense of faith. However, her manipulation fails because the murderer doesn’t trust Jesus.

It turns out that the Misfit gave it much more thought than the Grandmother, who is supposedly the role model when we talk about religion. The Misfit’s point of view comes down to the disbelief in Jesus and the total loss of the sense of life.

“You’re one of my own children!” – are the last words of the Grandmother. It is the quote from A Good Man Is Hard to Find that shows that she finally experiences the divine power of love in her final moments. The Grandmother accepts and forgives the Misfit as if he was her relative. According to the author, experiencing and spreading unconditional love is the true meaning of life and religion itself.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Quotes on Religion

Jesus shown 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 the papers on me.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead… and He shouldn’t have done it. He shown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it’s nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow Him, and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can-by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

💀 A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Death

All the themes in A Good Man Is Hard to Find are interconnected, and this one is not an exception. The issue of death is mentioned even at the beginning of the short story when the Grandmother nags about the escaped murderer and worries about her cat dying alone. Even the setting suggests this underlying theme.

Even though death is not the main idea in A Good Man Is Hard to Find, it still introduces important symbols. The last moments of the Grandmother’s life become the trigger. The Misfit’s role is to give her a chance to change. At the end of the story, the Grandmother realizes that only love and forgiveness are salvation. Having led such a meaningless life before, she has to pay the price.

Now, if we review the Misfit’s last words about the Grandmother, they might make more sense. He says she would be a good woman “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” The convict understands that only the fear of death brings enlightenment to the old lady.

It also underlines the well-known truth that the best opportunity to truly change one’s life is to undergo a near-death experience.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Quotes on Death

Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had 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.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Lady,.. there never was a body that give the undertaker a tip.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

She would of been a good woman… if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

🔑 What Is the Main Theme in A Good Man Is Hard to Find?

You should combine all the issues discussed above to understand what the main theme in A Good Man Is Hard to Find is. The death appears to be the revelation for the Grandmother. She has been following the wrong ideals the whole life, but in the final moments, she realizes that love and forgiveness are the true faith.

We hope that the above information on A Good Man Is Hard to Find themes is useful. If you’re looking for exciting essay ideas on the story, please read this article.

🔗 References

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