We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
GO TO SAT PREP GO TO ACT PREP
A Good Man is Hard to Find

A Good Man is Hard to Find

  

by Flannery O'Connor

Analysis: What's Up With the Title?

Have you heard the phrase "A Good Man is Hard to Find" before? At this point, it has become a proverb in American English. You might hear just about anyone from your grandmother to a six-year-old girl trying to be cute repeat this phrase. O'Connor herself didn't invent it. It's actually the title lyric of a song composed and performed by Eddie Green back during the time of piano rolls (1918). The song was a hit when it was first written, but became even more popular as a signature tune by Sophie Tucker.

O'Connor probably expected her readers to know the song, or at least the lyric that comes next:

A good man is hard to find
You always get the other kind


That certainly seems to be true in the story.

The title is also a line in the story; it comes into play when Red Sammy and the grandmother are talking about how no one is trustworthy anymore. They both agree that a good man is hard to find, particularly these days. The interesting question, though, is the following: what is a good man? Characters in the story certainly have something to say about that, but each one might offer a different perspective.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement