1. What two arguments does the grandmother use to talk Bailey out of Florida?  What’s her real reason for arguing? 2. How is danger introduced in the story and how do the characters perceive it? 3. How is the grandmother characterized in the first paragraph? 4. What perspectives on people and goodness do we see when the grandmother is talking to the store attendant (Reds)? 5. What story does the grandmother tell the kids that changes their plans? 6. What information is revealed regarding the grandmother’s realization about where they are going? What happens at that moment? 7. How does the Misfit react to being identified? Why is this a turning point in the story? How does this instance affect our view of the grandmother? 8. What do we learn about the Misfit’s background? Why do you think children make The Misfit nervous? 9. Why does the grandmother repeat “I know you’re a good man” and claim that he is not “common” or from common blood? 10. Why do you think The Misfit called “The Misfit”? 11. What do you make of the conclusion of this story? In particular, the line “She would have been a good woman . . . if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life” 12. Go back and look over the story. Find at least 2 instances of foreshadowing & irony in the story. 13. What is the meaning of the story’s title?    

Expert Answers

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In Flannery O'Connor's short story "A Good Man is Hard to Find" she uses characterization as one of the major elements to build interest in the story's content. The grandmother is the character that is most heavily focused on. The story starts out with the family preparing to take a trip to Florida. However, it is stated that the grandmother did not want to go to Florida but instead wanted to "visit some of her connections in  east Tennessee". Therefore, she tried at every opportunity to change Bailey's mind. She starts by appealing to his sense of safety and scarring him out of the idea of Florida. She mentions how "this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is aloose from the Federal Prison and headed toward Florida". She then tries to make him feel guilty for putting his children in danger. Then she appeals to the mother's sense of raising the children, hoping that she will change Bailey's mind. 

In this way the grandmother is shown to be manipulative and self serving. She is not as much concerned for the safety or proper upbringing of the children as she is in being allowed to visit her "connections".

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