The South in the 1960s was a very difficult time period. It was the Southern Gothic. Flannery called this “the action of grace in the territory held largely by the devil” (357). “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is the perfect example of this hypocritical period. White people saw themselves superior to everyone else, but were still kind of other races. The South’s status was very troubled in which the races, social class, and the religion were discriminated very often. The grandmother in the short story is a misfit herself, seeing herself superior to others, but relies on religion when she is in a difficult situation.
The grandmother, who is unnamed in the story, is a very judgmental and selfish woman. She likes to consider herself as superior to the others and like a “lady. ” Her moral sense is what guides her in life, like when she tells her son, Bailey, that her conscience does not let her take the children to the place the Misfit is in. She criticizes her son’s wife, and compares her to a cabbage. She judges the lack of good in people around her. When they are leaving for their trip, she wears a hat, just so they know she was a lady, if anything happens.
The Misfit, is introduced in the beginning of the short story, but comes in later on, during the trip. He does not have moral guidance, though he has a stance that the other characters do not. He is not similar to the grandmother, he does not see himself superior to anybody else. The Misfit questions himself, like his role in life and the meaning of it. He tried to find the morals of his mistakes and find the lessons in his experiences. The misfit has self-awareness, when the grandmother lacks it. He knows he is not a great person, but also he is not the worst. The Misfit’s beliefs may be corrupt, but at least they are consistent.
The grandmother’s moral sense disappears when she is in a difficult situation. The Misfit has a consistent view of life and he is acting the way he thinks is right. His beliefs aren’t moral, but are strong and stable, and the grandmother lacks this too. The Misfit can only depend on his conscience to guide him, but the grandmother does not. She acknowledges her strengths and weaknesses at the end of the story. If he had involved his moral sense to a less corrupt life, he could have been a whole different person. O’Connor used her story to bring people to Christianity. The grandmother was a misfit, and her actions were not very Christian-like.
The grandmother was very judgmental, hypocritical, selfish, stubborn, and self-centered. The Misfit was a “misfit” because he was a murderer, which is very sinful. They are both misfits, but in different ways. They are both equally sinful. When the grandmother is about to come to an end, she sees her mistakes and starts to pray and become very religious. Most times, people understand their mistakes when it is too late to go back, and do things right. The grandmother is selfish for keeping important information a secret, guilty for lying about the location of the house, and absent-minded for confusing the two states.
The grandmother waits a long time to change her life, and she even thinks if she was more religious, she would have lived a longer life. When she is talking to the Misfit, she tells him all her sins and asks if he prayed. As everything was going well, her selfishness comes back in, and tells the Misfit that she needs to pray. The Misfits reacts to her by shooting her. If the grandmother was actually caring and loving, she would have put her life out there for her grandchildren and son. She would say that she is already at the end and give up so her grandchildren can live a longer life.
The grandmother does not even care or think of begging when the Misfit starts murdering the family. She only calls out for Bailey, her son. Her selfishness made her start begging after she was the last person living. The only reason she started begging was to save her own life. The grandmother knows how to save herself and make the Misfit change his mind, as she does. Right when the Misfit is carefully listening to her and considering the words she is saying, she puts her hand on his shoulder, and the Misfit shoots the grandmother. In conclusion, the grandmother is a misfit herself, as equal as the real Misfit.
She shows her selfishness, stubbornness, and her self-centeredness through different parts of the story. She considers herself a good woman, or lady, even though she is the exact opposite of what she thinks she is. She is very judgmental, dishonest, and forgetful. The grandmother lacks self-awareness and only sees what others do, and does not notice her own mistakes. If she had not annoyed the Misfit and show her last reaction in that way, she would’ve been given a chance to live. The grandmother is a misfit herself, thinking she is a good woman, when she was doing many sins, and then relying on religion when she was about to lose her life.