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In the short story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find," what qualities of the grandmother do...

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animalluver2 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 16, 2009 at 11:47 AM via web

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In the short story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find," what qualities of the grandmother do you like and dislike?

Also, overall did you feel anything when The Misfit killed the grandmother at the end of the story?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 30, 2009 at 4:18 AM (Answer #1)

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After The Misfit had executed the rest of the family in Flannery O'Connor's short story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find," it is certainly no surprise that he doesn't spare the grandmother in the end. It's hard to feel sorry for her at that point since she sincerely believes The Misfit is worth saving and that he has some redeemable human traits within him. She is wrong in that regard. Additionally, she deserves little sympathy since her own foolish greed--to once again see the plantation house with the "secret hiding place"--caused the family's demise.

The grandmother has few likable qualities. She is meddlesome, manipulative and filled with a holier-than-thou attitude that seems to have alienated most of her own family. She is also racist and opionated--a relic of the Old South trying to fit into the new.

"... Oh, look at the cute little pickaninny!" she said... "Wouldn't he make a picture now?"
    "He didn't have any britches on," June Star said.
    "He probably didn't have any," the grandmother explained. "Little niggers in the country don't have things like we do."

But she is not always wrong. She tries to convince the family to visit Tennessee instead of Florida. She advises them to stay away from anywhere the escaped Misfit might lurk.

"I wouldn't take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn't answer to my conscience if I did."

But that is exactly what the grandmother ends up doing--trying to understand exactly how such a God-fearing woman such as herself winds up squatting on a dirt road with The Misfit--decidedly not a good man--sitting across from her.

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