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A Good Man Is Hard to Find

by Flannery O’Connor

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Why is a good man hard to find in Flannery O'Connor's story?

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In Flannery O’Conner’s short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” the grandmother and Red Sam discuss why a good man is difficult to find. As the family eats dinner at Red Sam’s restaurant/rest stop he describes how he allowed three unknown men to charge their gas but he is unsure why he did it. Grandmother tells him that he did it because he is a “good man.” The grandmother brings up the escaped convict known as the “Misfit.” Sam’s wife expresses her thoughts about the convict showing up at their place of business. Sam tells her to stop talking about it and says, “A good man is hard to find.” He and grandmother talk about times gone by which they think were better times when you did not even have to lock the doors on your home. People could be trusted. The grandmother says she believes things deteriorated because Europe thinks that “we,” meaning Americans, are made of money.

As the reader finds out later in the story, it was the escaped convict that Sam allowed to charge gas as fate brings him together with the family. Therefore, in the end, was Sam really a “good man?”

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