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The Analysis of the Main Character – the Grandmother in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” Essay


In the story “A Good Male Is Difficult to Discover” composed by Flannery O’Connor, the grandmother is the main character who grows and alters with the story establishes, she is a round and vibrant character. In the beginning, she seems to be an unpleasant, contemptible and selfish old woman who is hesitant about her religious beliefs. However in the end, when “her head cleared for an immediate,” the grandma becomes a genuine follower of God. And she is heading directly to paradise for her final Christ-like act of love the moment before she dies.

That is, she moves from spiritual loss of sight to grace. Which is the method that the author utilizes to relate her to the theme of the story.

Grandma prior to the moment of grace

First off, she is self-centered and unpleasant. When her family prepares to go on vacation in Florida, she persuades them to go to east Tennessee, where she has loved ones. Unable to persuade them, she utilizes the news that a demented killer who calls himself The Misfit is heading toward Florida as an excuse to change her kid Bailey’s mind.

The grandmother is so self-indulgent that she simply imposes her desire on those people around her. Also, her vanity and old belief make her an undesirable character. She always claims to be a lady and believes much of wealth and social status. When they set out to Florida, she dresses in her finest clothing and an over the top hat lest no one can acknowledge her as a refined woman if she dies in an accident along the roadway. “The grandmother had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a lot of white violets on the brim and a navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print. Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of fabric violets containing a sachet.”

From her point of view of identity, I can see that she specifies individuals externally, by clothing. And she tells her grandchildren, John Wesley and June Star, that “she would have done well to wed Mr. Teagarden because he was a mild male and had actually bought Coca-Cola stock when it first came out which he had actually passed away just a few years back, a really wealthy male.” At this moment, the grandma seems the female of old South who holds the outdated concept of hierarchy. She thinks just a gentleman who is abundant can march with a girl, which is a stereotypically southern noble bias. What’s more, she is a racist and opinionated. “Oh, look at the charming little pickaninny!” she stated … “Wouldn’t he make a picture now?” “He didn’t have any britches on,” June Star stated. “He probably didn’t have any,” the grandma discussed. “Little niggers in the nation do not have things like we do.” Her love for the South and the days of slavery are still influencing her.

According to her understanding, black people, particularly kids are expected to be poor. They belong to the lower class of the society so that they are inferior to her, who is a woman from the upper class. She considers herself morally superior to others by the virtue of her being a “girl”, and she freely and regularly makes judgment on others. At lunch break, they stop at Red Sammy’s, a barbecue eatery, where the grandmother laments that “people are definitely not great like they used to be”. During the conversation with Red Sammy, the grandmother, narrow-minded and opinionated, repeatedly guarantees herself that she is a girl, an excellent Christian, and an excellent judge of character. She maintains that Red Sammy, a bossy loudmouth, is a “good guy” and that Europe “was entirely to blame for the way things were now.” The part that granny is self-centered, vain, big-headed and judgmental just makes her undesirable for me, but when she gets her household hurt, she ends up being contemptible.

After they leave the roadhouse, her obstinacy about going to Tennessee blinds her orientation, she controls her boy into making a detour to see an old plantation she when checked out as a girl. First, she excites the kids’ interest to discover a home with secret panel, and then she depicts the tour to the plantation “would be extremely educational for them”. She is aware that any father would not reject something identified “instructional”, so she controls them to get what she wants. And this leads them to a really dangerous trip, which they have an accident later on because the feline Pitty Sing she selfishly slips out jumps onto Bailey and he loses control of the cars and truck on the dirt roadway. In such awful circumstance, all that she cares about is to prevent the obligation, so she pretends to be injured. Although she is an old lady, this habits is truly out of line. No one ought to put their family at risk and find themselves an excuse to get away from the responsibility. Her selfishness is more apparent when the whole family are challenging with the Misfit, a serial killer. Technically, it is the granny recognizing the identity of the Misfit that gets all her family eliminated. Nevertheless, she never ask the Misfit to spare her household, she just advocates her own life.

In her discussion with the Misfit, she informs him, “If you would pray … Jesus would help you.” She gets in touch with “Jesus” a variety of times, but I am unsure if she means “Jesus will assist you” or “she might be cursing” as she pleads the Misfit “not to shoot a girl.” Plus, for one moment prior to she dies, the old lady doubts Jesus, or at least feels abandoned: “Possibly he didn’t raise the dead”. It is an understandable reaction, after the colossal shock she has gone through: she understands that her household has actually been massacred. Here, her faith has actually been evaluated here. For that reason, I can only assume that the grandma is a superficial Christian who scepticizes her belief often.

Granny’s change

However, in the end, when “her head cleared for an instant,” the grandmother has a minute of insight. The moment she reaches out to the Misfit and declares “You’re one of my own children”, she exposes and provides to the Misfit her caring love, she experiences what O’Connor refers to as her “moment of grace,” a time when she acknowledges that she shares some trait with the Misfit despite their apparent distinctions. She knows she is far from a great person, she is flawed simply as the Misfit. She abandons the ethical high ground she had held and accepts the common humankind. Here is her spiritual surprise. By welcoming the minute of grace, she becomes a devout Christian, she believing in Jesus and is ready to “thow away whatever and follow Him”.

The link between the granny and the theme

The link between the grandma and the style lies in the minute she welcomes the moment of grace. The grandma travels from the acknowledgment just of her own self-centered desires to self-recognition of herself in other through suffering. That is, she moves from spiritual blindness to grace. O’Connor suggests that the grandma has gotten grace considering that Jesus “tossed everything off balance” by dying on a cross Himself. Hence, suffering is a crucial part of getting grace, and with the assistance of the Misfit, the grandma has made this journey of suffering, a journey from spiritual blindness and selfishness to suffering, and finally grace. This passage witnesses the change of a selfish, big-headed old female. Even though she has all these weaknesses at the beginning, she becomes the “great guy” when she embracing the moment of grace. Violence and suffering are the needed active ingredients to assist her change. In truth, both the experience of the granny reveals that great “is difficult to discover”.

1 A Good Male Is Hard to Find (narrative), from Wikipedia
2 SparkNotes: An excellent man is tough to discover, Analysis of Major Characters 3 高恩普的日志 , 读书笔记-A great guy is hard to discover , 来自人人网 4 蓝色轻雨水印 , PPT– A great male is difficult to find , 来自百度文库

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