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Free Study Guide-A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery O'Connor-Free
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STORY SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND

CHARACTERS

The Grandmother

An old lady with old fashioned ideas and manners. The grandmother is directive, talkative, a bit silly, and full of herself. She also can be manipulative. She considers herself a good person, and a kind one, and she loves her family, but is also selfish-- though she wouldn't see herself this way. She is not very aware.

Bailey

The old woman's son. He is impatient with her, a bit silly himself, and angry a lot of the time. He wants to be in charge, but has a limited grip on things.

The mother

The wife of Bailey. She is a young mother who is doing what all young mothers do. She watches her kids, more or less, and is a bit vacant. As a character, she is not especially filled out.


John Wesley and June Star

The children, both of them little smart-asses. They are wild, will say just about anything, and are relentless whiners. They fight, manipulate their parents to get their way, and make fun of the grandmother often.

The Misfit

An escaped convict who looks 'educated,' and apparently killed his own father. He is gray-haired, smart--and chillingly exact. He is also polite, and can kill without much remorse.

Hiram and Bobby Lee

The Misfit's cohorts. They are younger, and do as he tells them.

CONFLICT

The family is going on a vacation while an escaped convict is loose in the same area. The grandmother is constantly trying to direct the trip, and directs them onto a deserted road, where they have an accident when her cat jumps out of its basket.

Protagonist and Antagonist

No one in this story is particularly appealing or sympathetic. The grandmother is the focal point, and she does have a revelation towards the end. The Misfit is clearly an advisary--he kills the whole family. But good and evil are not entirely distinct here: this is what makes these stories so compelling.

Climax

The grandmother recognizes one of the men who stops at the scene of the accident as The Misfit. He says that it is too bad for the family that she recognized him.

Outcome

The entire family is shot and killed, the grandmother last. She tries to save herself, but only annoys the Misfit further.

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