What does the conversation with Red Sammy contribute to the plot of "A Good Man is Hard to Find"? Is it part of the complication or the conflict?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

    During the family's drive to Florida in the Flannery O'Connor short story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find," they stop at Red Sammy's Famous Barbecue restaurant. Red Sammy is an amiable good ol' boy with a monkey for a pet, an overhanging belly and a propensity for small talk. He orders his wife around, but she doesn't seem to notice (nor does the family).
    The conversation with Red Sammy seems as out-of-place as many of the other events that happen in the story. Sammy's appearance seems to be partly out of necessity--the family didn't pack a lunch, so they must stop somewhere for lunch--and partly as a symbol to further illustrate the title. Red Sammy may be friendly and talkative, and he may even make a mean BBQ (the grandmother fails to comment on this), but he is not a particularly good man. When his wife shows worry about The Misfit making an appearance at their eatery, Red Sammy shushes her away.

    "That'll do. Go bring these people their Co' Colas," and the woman went off...

Of course, it is Sammy who makes the comment

    "A good man is hard to find," Red Sammy said. "Everything is getting terrible. I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched. Not no more."

Bailey and his family finished their meal and drove on. Red Sammy and his wife would lock their door that night and remain safe from The Misfit and his gang.

Read the study guide:
A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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