A Good Man Is Hard to Find Questions and Answers
by Flannery O’Connor

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In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," how does gender play a role in the story?  I've been told it involves the grandmother. How?

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Good question! It is always interesting to explore how gender plays a role in stories that are not ostensibly about gender, such as Flannery O’ Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (1953). While O’ Connor’s narrative does not directly examine themes of gender conflict or discrimination, it does illustrate how gender norms mold the action of its chief characters, thus playing a part in their devastating end.

O’Connor wrote the story in the 1950s when gender roles were rigid—with men trapped into being the chief breadwinners and women pressured to play the role of perfect wives and housekeepers. If we look at the three female characters at the heart of the story, the grandmother, the mother, and young June Rose, we can clearly see how gender expectations define and confine them. It is significant that both the older women remain unnamed through the story, as if their identity has been subsumed by their roles. Marriage and motherhood represent a loss of self, which is why...

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