The story, 'A Good Man Is Hard To Find,' shows sincere belief of religion and pretentious belief of religion. People, who believe religion sincerely, are sincere to their life and behave with proper hierarchy of values. However, people, who has pretentious beliefs, behave how they think it is right. But this behavior can bring bad consequences since their beliefs of religion is usually wrong logically and ethically.
Moreover, pretentious beliefs of religion even deny their own belief. In this short story, through the main characters, Misfit and grandmother, it shows the process and consequence for pretentious belief of religion to reach the sincere belief. Grandmother thinks that she can influence The Misfit by telling him her belief and turns conversation to religion.
Flannery O'Connor described, 'The grandmother noticed how thin his shoulder blades were just behind his hat because she was standing up looking down on him. 'Do you every pray? ' she asked' (8). She keeps asking him to pray, but it didn't inspire him at all. However, ironically, they find enlightenment through violence later on.
Understanding themselves and their surrounding, and realization of religious truth accompany a big impact. The impact is strong enough that destroys the pretentious beliefs, so enlightenment would be violent that can lead to death. Both characters have faced with more shock when they experienced a moment of truth due to their pretentious faith, and the consequences are death and murder. Grandmother pretends she is very religious.
Grandmother pretends she is very religious. Due to prejudice and arrogance, she didn't even try to look The Misfit deeply and just thinks that The Misfit is uncivilized and insincere. At the end of the story, grandmother is threatened and falls into confusion. However, as she sees that The Misfit is regretting himself, her mind cleared. The author writes, ' She saw the man's face twisted close to her own as if he were going to cry and she murmured, 'Why you're one of my babies. You're one of my own children! ' She reached out and touched him on the shoulder' (10).
It shows that she wanted to protect The Misfit once she saw his weakness. Although she looked at other people with full of prejudice, a sudden threat of life stirred her and she was able to see other's true inner side. The consequence of realization was death. She got killed when she realized The Misfit's true inner side and tried to reach him. But she could die with guilty of a smile since the truth and realization satisfied her.
The Misfit is also considered as a person with pretentious belief of religion since he behaves with his own logic, but his logic isn't accepted by others and brings bad result. At the end of the story, The Misfit felt embarrassed as grandmother tried to reach his inner side, and finally he shot her. It seemed like he was embarrassed because there was no one tried to reach his inner side. In the story, The Misfit says, 'Nome,' he said. 'It wasn't no mistake.
They had the papers on me' (9). People, who put him in prison, didn't see the truth but judged him by papers. Eventually, he thinks that the papers are the truth and he believes that he committed a sin. In deep inside of him, he knew he is not guilty, so based on his anger, he built his own false belief. However, as someone recognized his truth, he might felt like his pretentious beliefs collapsing. Once he killed the grandmother, he realized his hidden inside pushed away due to other people's judgment. However, the consequence of realization was murder.
This time, he really commits a crime. Dividing good and bad is vague and subjective, but each characters has the obvious characteristics that cannot be concluded as good people. Bailey, son of the grandmother, seems like he doesn't really care of his mother, being mean to her. It is not even clear that why he wants to go to Florida for a vaction. The author writes, 'She asked Bailey if he would like to dance but he only glared at her.
He didn't have a naturally sunny disposition like she did and trips made him nervous' (3). Two children, John Wesley and June Star, represents person who are immature and rude. In the story, O'Connor described, 'But nobody's killed,' June Star said with disappointment as the grandmother limped out of the car' (6). Like this, the characters don't seems like good people. In addition, the shocking ending -- a family massacre -- makes the story more impractical. However, there is a string of hope that there are still good people since Red Sammy empathizes and communicates with grandmother.
There is a quote saying, 'A good man is hard to find,' Red Sammy said. 'Everything is getting terrible. I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched. Not no more' (4).