What are the religious themes from "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Christian ideal of God's grace is a central theme in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find."  Despite being the worst, most unlikable characters in the entire story, the grandmother and the Misfit are shown to be recipients of God's grace, receiving his forgiveness and mercy despite their unworthiness.  In many ways, it is fitting that O'Connor choose the most unlikely characters to find grace at the end of the novel, because the grandmother and the Misfit are the least deserving.  Constantly complaining and picking on the other family members, the grandmother sours the entire family outing.  The Misfit is a homicidal maniac, but both experience experience God's grace before the end of the story.

When the grandmother declares "Why you're one of my babies!  You're one of my own children" to the Misfit at the very end, she does so because she finally makes the connection between the two of them, that they are all sinners in need of forgiveness.  In this moment of epiphany, the grandmother finds grace and understanding. The Misfit has his own moment of truth as well, realizing that there was no more pleasure to be found in murder; he may also find redemption.


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