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In A Good Man is Hard to find story, who is the deepest thinker among the characters?...

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alqmerb | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 9, 2010 at 9:36 PM via web

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In A Good Man is Hard to find story, who is the deepest thinker among the characters? Does the story emphasize an idea?

 

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 10, 2010 at 12:03 AM (Answer #1)

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This short story by Flannery O'Connor is narrated in the third person, so the narrator is what is referred to as "an omniscient narrator." Any of the thinking to which we are privy in this story, then, is through the viewpoint of the narrator. The deepest thinker, therefore, is the narrator in this story because we see everything through the narrator's vision.

However, if you must choose an actual character as the deepest thinker, you would have to go with the grandmother because her character is the focal point of the story. How she relates to the other members of the family in the car and how she relates to the Misfit when the family encounters him and his fellow criminals is what propels the drama of this story.

The author presents the grandmother as a very manipulative, quasi-religious woman, forcing her will upon her family. When the family encounters the Misfit, and they are all killed, the grandmother is left as the last one. She first tries to flatter the Misfit, then pleads with him, then tries to witness to him. This was her final mistake because the Misfit has issues with religion and shoots the grandmother, explaining that he is angry with God for not leaving any evidence of his existence. Before she is killed, the grandmother touches the Misfit, showing that she has afforded him grace and forgiveness. Her character has been transformed from the beginning of the story where she was concerned about people thinking she was a "good Christian" to actually becoming a good Christian, and offering grace, which is unmerited favor, and it is grace from God that saves all Christians, not works. The title, therefore, A Good Man is Hard to Find expresses a Biblical theme that:

"many are called, but few are chosen"

and that:

 "it is easier for a rich man to go through the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven."

Flannery O'Connor was a very religious Catholic and all of her stories have religious themes and motifs. You can read about her here on enotes.

 

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 10, 2010 at 2:47 AM (Answer #2)

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The grandmother in O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is not a deep thinker.  How many of her thoughts the reader gets has nothing to do with her being a deep thinker.  That's faulty logic.

The grandmother is shallow and ignorant and bigotted and stupid.   She spouts garbage at others every chance she gets and is a bully.  She needs what The Misfit concludes she needs at the conclusion of her story:  somebody holding a gun to her head every minute of every day to wake her up out of her idiot thought patterns, in which she is the only one who knows anything and the only one who is any good.

Th Misfit, who understands her better than anyone else in the play, is the deepest thinker.  He understands just how warped the old woman and her thoughts (if you can call them thoughts--she certainly hasn't done any thinking of value) is. 

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 10, 2010 at 7:50 AM (Answer #3)

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Sorry, but I stand by my answer. Just because the grandmother is an obnoxious character does not mean she is not the deepest thinker. We know more about what she is thinking than anyone else, and just because her thoughts are odious does not mean they are not deep. True, the Misfit's thoughts are deep, because it is obvious that he has given a great deal of thought to religion, etc., but I believe the grandmother has undergone a transformation by the end of the story that allows her to see inside her soul and actually practice the Christianity that she says she believes. When she touches the Misfit, it shows that she has thought deeply about grace and forgiveness. Even thought she knows she is going to be shot, she realizes she must forgive.

Isn't it great that this story is so deep that it allows for lots of good debate?

What do YOU think, algmerb?

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