A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

In the 1950s, automobiles became more accessible to many Americans, and people's mobility and freedom reached new proportions. O'Connor often used the automobile as a symbol in her writing. In addition to ''A Good Man Is Hard to Find," read "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" and "The Displaced Person" and discuss the importance of the automobile in those narratives.

Read about the Civil Rights Movement and some of the frustrations African-Americans faced in the South during the 1950s and 1960s. Read another story from O'Connor's collection A Good Man Is Hard to Find called "The Artificial Nigger." How does a racist lawn statue become a symbol for spiritual searching? What seems to be O'Connor's position on racism?

Discuss how the tenets of Roman Catholicism are manifest in O'Connor's fiction. How does she interpret her own Catholic faith, and what does she expect her readers to understand about it?

Compare O'Connor's use of humor to Mark Twain's, especially in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. How do both of the writers use humor to present the harsh realities of the human condition?