O’Connor is one of the famous writers who have made tremendous contributions in the world of literature. She holds a belief that violent situations usually enable people’s real characters to emerge. She argues that once it surfaces, it demonstrates a man’s innate desires as well as his dark side.
She uses violence in a rhetorical manner in the story entitled “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, which confirms her beliefs. O’Connor argues that extreme circumstances usually reveal the true nature of human beings. Violence is usually defined as the use of physical force or emotional torment in order to get something from someone as well as in situations where people want to satisfying their desires.
Violence situation in the story entitled “A good man is hard to find” begins when the family is on a road trip to Florida during the vacation. To some extent, violence begins in an indirect manner when the grandmother secretly plans to use tactics that would make her Son Bailey to change his mind so that she would visit plantations she had earlier visited.
After inciting the children, they become excited and they yearn to visit the house that has some family silver. The grand mother incites them and it is said that “The children begins to yell and scream that they wanted to see the house…” (O’Connor, “Today’s Words: A Good Man Is Hard To Find”).
This provokes John Wesley to kick the driver’s seat in the verge of making his dad agree to their demand, making his father to lose control and they land into a ditch. Out of that violent situation, we are able to establish grandmother’s characters which include being selfish and self-centered. She seems to be narcissistic in nature and this has become apparent during the incident that leads to an accident.
It is also evident that John Wesley is mean, a character that comes out clearly during the incident. Earlier on we see a situation whereby, John Wesley is asked what he would do to Misfit. His answer is “I’d smack his face” (O’Connor, “Today’s Words: A Good Man Is Hard To Find”). Hitting the backseat creates a scenario where violence is evident. The situation depicts the boy’s violent nature
Misfit, who is an escaping prisoner, had killed his father before he was arrested. This is situation that portrays him as a violent character. However, he denies the allegations saying that his father died of flu. In the bush, the sound of guns are heard when Bailey and his son are taken there by Hiram and Bobby Lee.
The reason they are taken there is unknown at first. One would think they want to get some information from them. Both Hiram and Bobby Lee act violently since they kills Bailey and his son Hiram puts on Bailey’s shirt. Two more pistol shots are heard and the grandmother begs for her life. First, she does not take into account that her children and grandchildren could be in danger.
She tells Misfit “…I know you wouldn’t shoot a lady…” (O’Connor, “Today’s Words: A Good Man Is Hard To Find”). Out of this violent situation, we find that she consider her welfare first before thinking about the rest; a character that emerges clearly symbolizing her dark side.
The first pistol shot and the subsequent ones in the incident mark the killing of Bailey, his wife and children. Misfit also shoots the grandmother three times on the chest after having debate about Christ killing her instantly. Out of this situation, we find that misfit is an antagonist of Christ and he seems to be provoked by discussions about him.
The grandmother thought that misfit is a good man more than she thought of her children. It is evident that before the violence, Misfit displays some characters that would make people see him as a nice person. He is even apologetic to the grandmother. However, he confronts, endangered as well as murders the entire family. Previously, he was a gospel singer and did other jobs which made people think he was a nice man; however, Misfit has a dark side that clearly came out in his acts of violence and coercion.
He can do anything including killing innocent people instead of letting them live in case they recognize him. This reveals his animosity nature. Initially, he tells the grandmother that it would have been better for them all if she did not recognize him. Misfit reprimands Bobby Lee by making fun of the grandmother. This makes us learn of his desperation. We find him saying “Shut up, Bobby Lee…it’s no real pleasure in life” (O’Connor, “Today’s Words: A Good Man Is Hard To Find”).
In conclusion, O’Connor is able to show her belief concerning violence in this story. It is worth noting that in violent situations, a man usually exposes the traits that are least dispensable in his character. That is the personality which is enduring in an individual.
O’Connor, Flannery. Today’s Words: A Good Man Is Hard To Find. 1November 2011.