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A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Flannery O’Connor


O’Connor and Catholicism

Flannery O’Connor’s Catholic upbringing influenced almost all her fiction, often garnering criticism because of her stark, sometimes harsh portrayal of religion. O’Connor’s great-grandparents had been some of the first Catholics to live in Milledgeville, Georgia, and her family stood out in the predominantly Protestant South. O’Connor attended parochial school and frequently went to Mass with her family. Although her stories and novels are often violent and macabre, they are rooted in her belief in the mysteries of belief and divinity. Moreover, her characters often face violent or jarring situations that force them into a moment of crisis that awakens or alters their faith. Moments of grace—a Christian idea—are pervasive, such as the grandmother’s moment of grace in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” For O’Connor, writing was inextricable from her Christian beliefs, and she believed she wouldn’t be able to write were it not for this background. In a lecture about “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” in 1943, O’Connor said, “Belief, in my own case anyway, is the engine that makes perception operate.” She also attributed her desire to write to her Catholicism, writing once in a letter, “I feel that if I were not a Catholic, I would have no reason to write, no reason to see, no reason ever to feel horrified or even to enjoy anything.”

Cabbage comment

by lauraluluk, July 03, 2017

I just wanted to point out that on here it says the grandmother compares the children's mother to a cabbage, when in reality it is the narrator, which is in third person. The exact quote is "Bailey didn't look up from his reading so she wheeled around then and faced the children's mother, young woman in slacks, whose face was as broad and innocent as a cabbage and was tied around with a green headkerchief that had two points on the top like a rabbit's ears." It is not the grandmother speaking or comparing anything to a cabbage.

correction to my last comment

by lauraluluk, July 03, 2017

*a young woman in slacks

Engaging story.

by MariaDPettiford, July 25, 2017

"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" is a short story written by Flannery O'Connor in 1953. The story appears in the collection of short stories of the same name. The interpretive work of scholars often focuses on the controversial final scene. If you like short stories and Southern Gothic, this book is for you.