Study Guide

A Good Man is Hard to Find Religion

By Flannery O'Connor

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The central confrontation between the grandmother and The Misfit in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" revolves around Jesus. The grandmother brings up praying to Jesus in the hope that she can induce The Misfit to spare her life by appealing to his religious sense. It turns out, however, that The Misfit has probably thought about Jesus more seriously than she has. The Misfit's doubt in Jesus leads him to think that there is no real right or wrong, and no ultimate point to life.

At the story's climax, the grandmother appears to receive a moment of divine grace, which might transform her and The Misfit. How this ending is understood is the major question of the story.

Questions About Religion

  1. Is the grandmother a real religious believer? Does she have genuine faith? What evidence can you find either way?
  2. Does The Misfit believe in Jesus? If he does, to what degree? If not, why not?
  3. Between The Misfit and the grandmother, who seems to have a more solid foundation in faith?
  4. Why would The Misfit attach so much importance to the question of whether Jesus did what he's supposed to have done? Why is this an all-or-nothing question for him?
  5. Is the grandmother's "moment of grace" a genuine moment of grace? What evidence do you see either way?

Chew on This

The grandmother never took her religious faith seriously.

The grandmother's final gesture is a genuine moment of grace.

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