What are the religious themes from "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As far as this particular story is concerned, I think it centers around themes of sin and grace. These are two of the central themes of Christian teachings: that the world is in some way fallen but that salvation is possible through God's grace (enacted in Christ's sacrifice on the cross), and in this fashion, humanity's fallen nature can be redeemed. O'Connor's story, and that of the grandmother in particular, express both of these core elements in Christian teaching.

First, as other contributors have noted, the grandmother herself is, for all her pretensions towards religiosity and respectability, vain, judgmental, prideful, and racist. When viewed within the language of Christian theology, these unpleasant attributes point towards her own fallen nature. However, as the story ends, facing death at the hands of the Misfit, she has a momentary epiphany, recognizing the essential humanity of the Misfit himself. In the process, she experiences a moment of grace. Within Christian teaching,...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 993 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on