A Good Man is Hard to Find
by Flannery O'Connor
A Good Man is Hard to Find Theme of Society and Class
The grandmother in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" gives great importance to being "a lady," and her ideas about what that means reflect an old-fashioned, somewhat upper-crust Southern mindset. She uses the n-word and longs for the good old days when kids were polite, people were trustworthy, and there were pretty plantations to visit. All of this leads her to associate being "good" with coming from a respectable family and behaving like a member of her social class; those who don't are outsiders. Her sensibilities are in for quite a shock when she meets The Misfit.
Questions About Society and Class
- In what ways does the grandmother reflect a particular Southern social class? To what extent is this conscious on her part?
- How does the grandmother's social class play a role in her confrontation with the Misfit, and in the story's larger contrast between good and evil?
- Do any characters besides the grandmother display an awareness of class or social status?
- Does the story adopt a negative view towards the kind of southern culture the grandmother represents? Is it instead positive, or neutral? How can you tell?
Chew on This
The grandmother's values are only concerned with appearances, and are therefore criticized and mocked by the story.