Themes of “A Good Man…” Story by Flannery O’Connor

Subject: Literature
Pages: 1
Words: 280
Reading time:
< 1 min
Study level: Bachelor

The short story A good man is hard to find was written by Flannery O’Connor in 1953, and it illuminates several themes, one of which is a theme of genuine good. All characters in the story represent different attitudes toward good and evil, and they have contrasting perceptions of what a kind individual is. Among the characters that help develop the given theme are the grandmother, Red Sam, and the Misfit. To start with, the first character, the grandmother, has ossified perceptions of kindness, grace, and goodness. She believes that basic respectful manners and politeness can characterize a person as good. In this sense, she claims that Red Sam is a kind person based on his friendliness. However, when it comes to a cold-hearted individual, the Misfit, the lady states: “…you shouldn’t call yourself The Misfit because I know you’re a good man at heart. I can just look at you and tell” (O’Connor, 2016, p.9). In the end, the man kills the grandmother, regardless of her perceptions of him.

The idea of the story that the author strives to convey is that human goodness is a complex concept. O’Connor does not answer the question of what “a good man” is but allows the reader to ponder. This writing method affected my interpretation of the work because it allowed me to judge the characters from different perspectives. At first, I tried to believe the position of the grandmother. However, in the end, her belief in human kindness was a mistake, and sometimes people are precisely what they represent. Thus, the story gains more effectiveness and power with the help of this story because it covers the basic concept of morality.


O’Connor, F. (2016). A good man is hard to find. Faber & Faber.