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," do the various weaknesses and shortcomings of the traveling family have any bearing on their fate? Would the outcome have been the same if they had acted differently?

In "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," the family's weaknesses do have bearing on their fate, and the outcome would have been different if they had acted differently. If Bailey listened to his mother's warnings, they mightn't have traveled to Florida. If he had shown more concern for her cat, she wouldn't have hid it, and it mightn't have caused the accident. If the grandmother thought before she spoke, she mightn't have identified the criminal and sealed their fate.

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Absolutely the family's weaknesses and shortcomings help to create their fate, and it is unlikely that the outcome would have been the same had they acted differently. For starters, Bailey does not respect or listen to his mother, who points out that there is a dangerous criminal on the loose in Florida, near where the family plans to travel. He totally disregards his mother's warning and preference for traveling to Tennessee instead. He won't even reply to her, and his wife ignores the grandmother as well. Had he respected his mother's wishes or fears, they could have...

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