In the story "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?How does gender play a role in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good...

In the story "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?

How does gender play a role in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find?"

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thewritingteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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Many of Flannery O'Connor's character defy cultural expectactions. For example, many of her women are strong, opinionated leaders, while the prevailing culture, especially during O'Connor's lifetime, prized women as nurturing homemakers whose role was to support the decisions and opinions of men.

Grandmothers, especially, were expected to follow the lead of their grown sons if there was no grandfather in the house. Men, not women, were the driving decision-makers (at least on the surface) in literature, and generally in society until after World War 2.  The mother in this story is the more stereotypical character who is left in her assigned gender role.

O'Connor's grandmother character defies the cultural stereotype. She is opinionated and not shy of voicing those opinions on subjects from vacation destinations to proper etiquette for children to current events. She pays attention to the details that others ignore, including the starting mileage of the car and the facial features of The Misfit.

O Connor's grandmother character is also the one to defend the family during the "predictament." Again in traditional gender roles, family protection is the domain of the family patriarch, not one of the women. Yet, in another example of O'Connor's challenge to social norms, it is the elderly woman who stands to defend her family.

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