A Good Man is Hard to Find
by Flannery O'Connor
A Good Man is Hard to Find Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Paragraph)
[Red Sammy] and the grandmother discussed better times. The old lady said that in her opinion Europe was entirely to blame for the way things were now. (43)
More talk of the "good old days." The grandmother blames what she sees as the great decay culture and society entirely on others. She doesn't want to admit any responsibility to the South itself. Here again there's that isolating "us" and "them" mindset, which is part of the grandmother's way of looking at the world and understanding what's good in it.
"Listen," the grandmother almost screamed, "I know you're a good man. You don't look a bit like you have common blood. I know you must come from nice people!" (88)
The grandmother's first appeal to The Misfit is that he can't kill her because he must be a "good man." What's comical about it is not only that it seems insincere, but also that she directly connects being a good man to coming from "nice people," and not from "common folk." There's unabashed classism for you, and it's particularly ridiculous in this case; the shirtless Misfit and his two accomplices present everything but a picture "nice people." The grandmother's willingness to apply her own ideal of goodness to someone who so obviously doesn't fit it, doesn't reflect well on her or her idealized views.
[The Misfit] put on his black hat and looked up suddenly and then away deep into the woods as if her were embarrassed again. "I'm sorry I don't have on a shirt before you ladies," he said, hunching his shoulders slightly. "We buried our clothes that we had on when we escaped and we're just making do until we can get better." (99)
Here we have another ridiculous moment, which presents southern manners in an interesting light. The Misfit has just ordered the men of the family to be taken into the woods and shot, and he's slightly embarrassed that he's not properly dressed in front of ladies.