What is the dominant impression of O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find?"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What may be considered a dominant impression is the grandmother's salvation at a most unsuspected moment, and it is a moment of violence, as well.

Flannery O'Connor herself has stated that she uses violence to grab readers' attention so that they will not miss the moment of grace. Added to this violence is the fact that in this Southern Gothic tale it is the grotesque, the Misfit, who recoils from the grandmother, rather than the other way around. This action, too, brings the readers' focus onto the unsuspected moment that the grandmother realizes that she is herself a sinner:

"...Why, you're one of my children!" ....She reached out and touched him on the shoulder. The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest.

After she is shot, the grandmother collapses into a seated position with her legs crossed before her, much like a Christ-figure who has been taken down from the crucifix. This Christian image, then, underscores the grandmother's salvation effected through violence.

The demonstration that this salvation of the grandmother is attained through violence are the words of the grotesque himself, "She would of been a good woman...if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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