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Character Analysis Of The Grandmother In A Good Man Is Hard To Find Essay, Research Paper
The grandmother is the central character in the story “A good man is hard to find,” by Flannery O’Connor. The grandmother is a manipulative, deceitful, and self-serving woman who lives in the past.
She doesn’t value her life as it is, but glorifies what it was like long ago when she saw life through rose-colored glasses. She is pre-
sented by O’Connor as being a prim and proper lady dressed in a suit, hat, and white cotton gloves. This woman will do whatever it takes to get what she wants and she doesn’t let anyone else’s feelings stand in her way. She trys to justify her demands by convincing herself and
her family that her way is not only the best way, but the only way.
The grandmother is determined to change her family’s vacation destination as she tries to manipulate her son into going to Tennessee
instead of Florida. She began trying to make Bailey, her son, feel guilty about the children’s safety. The grandmother says that “she
couldn’t answer to her conscience if she took the children in a direction where there was a convict on the loose.” She is not success-ful with Bailey, so she uses the same antics on her daughter-in-law who doesn’t even acknowledge her. Before she has a chance to work on the children, they tell her “stay at home if you don’t want to go.” The grandmother then decides that she will have to go along after all, but she is already working on her own agenda.
The grandmother is very deceitful, and she manages to sneak the cat in the car with her even though she knows Bailey does not “like to arrive at a motel with a cat.” She decides that she would like to visit an old plantation and begins her pursuit of convincing Bailey to agree to it. She describes the old house for the children adding mysterious details to pique their curiosity. “There was a secret panel in this house,” she states craftily knowing it is a lie, and not really wanting to, but she is determined to see the house. The grandmother always stretches the truth as much as possible. She not only lies to her family, but to herself as well.
The grandmother doesn’t live in the present, but in the past. She dresses in a suit to go on vacation in a very humid part of the country. She states, “in case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady.” She constantly tries to tell everyone what they should or should not do. She cautions Bailey “that the speed limit was fifty-five miles an hour and that the patrolmen hid themselves behind every billboard and small clumps of trees and sped out after you had a chance to slow down.” She informs the children that they do not have good manners and that “children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else.” when she was a child. She fits the description of an older southern lady who is a bit prejudiced when referring to the African-American race; She said, “Oh look at the cute little pickaninny!” She speaks of how she could have married Mr. Teagarden; a successful and wealthy businessman. The grandmother always speaks as though she is missing something more by being whom she really is. She enjoys listening to old songs like “The Tennessee Waltz.” These thing remind her of the things she believes are more important, even more so than her own family. The grandmother blames other people for negative events that she has experienced throughout her entire life.
The grandmother remains self-serving throughout the story. She only considers what she can get out of a situation, and how it will ultimately benefit her. Her reasons for not wanting to go to Florida
are purely selfish, even though she pretends that it to ensure the children’s safety. She also states, “the old plantation would be very educational for them.” She is not concerned about the beneficial opportunities for the children, and is only looking out for her own needs. When the grandmother meets up with the Misfit, she tries to use the same techniques on him that she practices on her family. The Misfit does not allow the grandmother to manipulate him, however, he allows her to use her ploys for the sheer enjoyment of it. She does not resign herself to death yet, not even when she hears the gunshots coming from the wooded area. The grandmother listens to multiple gun-
shots and even then she only begs for her own life. She states “Jesus,
you’ve got good blood, I know you wouldn’t shoot a lady!” The grand-
mother’s only son, and his entire family are dead and she remains
absorbed in her own fear, oblivious to what is going on around her.
The grandmother does not change until mere seconds before her life is over, and her head clears for an instant. After she realizes the Misfit is going to kill her, she tries to manipulate fo the final time telling the Misfit, “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” The grandmother’s life ends at this time and she never realized that she held everything dear to her at home. O’Connor leaves the reader to believe that maybe the grandmother wouldn’t have changed regardless, and her head clearing for an instant could be interpreted as she knew she was going to die and was trying to think clearly long enough to save her own life.
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