A Good Man Is Hard to Find Study Guide
A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Themes
A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Characters
A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Analysis
A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Critical Essays
A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Multiple-Choice Quizzes
A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Questions & Answers
A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Introduction
A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Biography of Flannery O’Connor
Introduction to A Good Man Is Hard to Find
“A Good Man is Hard to Find” is a short story by Flannery O’Connor. It was originally published in an anthology titled The Avon Book of Modern Writing, and has since become O’Connor’s most frequently anthologized work. What begins as a story about an uncomfortable but otherwise normal family road trip quickly takes a darker turn when the family gets lost and encounters an escaped convict known as the Misfit. Readers and critics alike have found the story’s brutal and controversial ending compelling, with most analysis of the story focusing on the final exchange between the Misfit and the grandmother.
O’Connor was a devout Roman Catholic, and religious themes are prevalent throughout her works. Specifically, her works often explored the notion of Christian grace, especially when it is realized through violent or otherwise extraordinary circumstances. In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the grandmother is presented as a superficially pious but otherwise selfish and graceless woman. However, after her encounter with the Misfit, she seems to reach some kind of epiphany, and she dies after empathetically recognizing the Misfit, at least symbolically, as “one of [her] own children.”
A Brief Biography of Flannery O’Connor
Mary Flannery O’Connor (1925–1964), better known as Flannery O’Connor, was an American author, editor, and reviewer. She was also a notable letter writer, a habit likely influenced by her relative immobility as a result of her health struggles. Born in the rural South, O’Connor was a lifelong Catholic and lover of birds. Her family moved to their own dairy farm—called Andalusia—in 1940. O’Connor later attended university, where she made a number of connections that she would retain throughout her life. She was invited to attend the prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop program under the tutelage of Paul Engle. She spent a brief but happy period residing with friends and writing. However, following her first debilitating attack of lupus in 1950, O’Connor resided at Andalusia farm permanently under the care of her mother. However, despite her declining health and relatively short life, O’Connor became a highly respected and well-known author of novels and short stories, and she maintained a robust correspondence with her friends and loved ones. Her literary oeuvre is noted for its Southern Gothic roots and preoccupation with themes of grace, morality, and human nature. Her notable works include the 1952 novel Wise Blood and the 1955 story collection A Good Man Is Hard to Find.