A Good Man is Hard to Find: Character Journey The Grandmother

Posted by admin on February 14, 2018 in Articles

“A Good Man is Hard to Find” Character Journey: The Grandmother
Flannery O’Connor is known for her strong roots in southern gothic literature. An avid Christian herself, O’Connor strove to portray the everyday struggles adherent to her religion through grotesque characters and tragic endings that would leave her readers with a permanent imprint. She does this brilliantly in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” through her main character of the grandmother, an older southern “lady”, who deems herself a good woman and morally superior but is actually selfish and manipulative. These characteristics are demonstrated frequently through her interactions with the family and others as well as her internal dialogues presented by an omniscient narrator. Throughout the story, O’Connor’s use of irony, foreshadowing and characterization allows the reader to see how the grandmother’s negative aspects and simple-mindedness lead to her moment of redemption while also revealing the intended theme in which salvation can be received through love, compassion and unselfishness.
Dramatic, verbal, and situational are the three types of irony used in literature, and O’Connor uses all three to highlight the grandmother’s core personality and ultimately her redemption. Firstly, dramatic irony occurs when what is obvious to the reader is not to the character. This is especially true for the grandmother. During the introductory point of the plot, the grandmother sees herself as a true southern lady, one who is wise, proper, and genteel; however, her actions and discourse reveals that she is manipulative, judgmental, and self-absorbed. This is demonstrated when the family is in the car just leaving for Florida where she is dressed proper, but judges how unbefitting her daughter-in-law’s attire is. “The children’s mother still had on slacks and still had her head tied up in a green kerchief, but the grandmother had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim and a…