ENG 1101 Fall 2021 0277

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  • 11/18 questions on "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"
  • #75756

    Prof. Masiello

    5) A short story by Flannery O’Connor called “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”:

    (Flannery O’Connor was a female writer. I added this since her name is unusual.)

    a) Notice that the women in this story often do not have actual names, but the men do.
    Do you think there is a reason for this or is it just a quirk?

    b) Notice the description of Bailey’s wife’s head and head wrap, and the grandmother’s large bag.

    Once again, we are dealing with figurative, not literal descriptions. We are supposed to find this style
    enjoyable and it has an odd visual appeal.

    Remember: good writing attempts to appeal to the senses. That is why people like to read fiction. Fiction – novels and short stories – is more pleasurable to read than a typical textbook. Fiction is a form of entertainment.

    c) The description of the odd pet at the gas station / rest stop is for enjoyment. O’Connor is distracting
    us with fun facts. The interactions within the family are almost comical, like watching a comedy. Even
    when their car turns over, it is because of a cat, and the reactions of the unharmed passengers is
    amusing. Also, the grandmother’s hat flower gets bent.

    d) Notice that the man at the gas station explains the title in a certain context of customers, but the title
    takes on more significance at the end.

    e) The ending is quite shocking since all the members of the family are slaughtered by a serial killer.

    Just before she is killed, the grandmother says to the killer that he is like her son? Why was she
    saying this?

    f) Some people say that this story shows the old woman as the bad one, and she is like a witch with a
    hat and a black cat, but that seems unfair. She is rather likable and seems to have a good heart.

    There are no redeeming qualities in the killer.

    g) Do you think that the author is biased against men?


    Jaheim Wilson

    1) I believe the lack of proper names for women in the story in order to inherently categorize men as more superior and important.

    2) She compares him to her son in order to appeal to his better qualities. And that she is now viewing him as more than just a ‘man’ but as an actual person.

    It seems like the grandmother was using psychology: saying something nice to calm him down, but it did not work.

    3) No I don’t believe that the author is biased against men. She is just trying to show us to not blindly stereotype groups of people. I believe she is showing that everyone is different and that everyone adheres to their own values and ideas.

    What about your perception of metaphors and similes, Jaheim?



    1. I don’t think there’s a reason for this, nothing about it stood out to me.

    Okay, but it is curious nonetheless.

    2. I feel she told him he was like her son in hopes that he would spare her. Which I think was dumb since he already killed her whole family. And the man didn’t seem like he was looking for redemption.

    3. No, I don’t think the author is biased against men. It doesn’t feel like a hate men story for me personally it was the grandmother I didn’t like. I really feel it’s her fault they got killed.

    Hmmm…maybe you could argue that combining 1 and 3 that O’Connor is anti-female!


    Osman Hassan

    a) What they have in common is being a mother, though I’m not sure what this signifies.
    e) I believe she saw the child in him and said it in a figurative sense
    g) Nothing specifically points towards that. I see the killers as being bad because of their circumstances, not their gender. Also, Bailey and the son are not portrayed in a particularly negative way.



    A) I guess the reason that the men have a proper name is that they’re more compatible and has for the women is just to be a mother.
    E) She felt like the child was just like the son but slightly different because I guess her actual son spared her life while this child didn’t spare but killed her.
    G)I don’t believe the author is biased against men. The grandma was trying to tell us something when she died and thought that the man that killed her was the son but yet it was an actual man who has the guts to kill. So this shows, not to judge others based on how they look or act but to see them actually doing something.


    Dmitry Terentyev

    (a) The author is giving identities to men by assigning them names, while women are just left to be identified with a reference to men, like Bailey’s wife or mother. It seems that the author considers that women are inferior to men who should be identified only with reference to a male member from the family.

    (b) The author uses simile “as broad and innocent as a cabbage” to describe the size of Bailey’s wife head and “like rabbit’s ear” to describe her head scarf. Also the simile “like the head of a hippopotamus” is used to describe grandmother’s large bag which adds a very comical effect in the writing.

    (c) The use of such almost comical descriptions and situations is an interesting writing style considering the grim turn the story eventually takes. I think it tells a lot about the expertise of a writer, who was the ability to add humor in a story with tragic end.

    (d) To me, it felt like a sort of foreshadowing of the events that happen at the end of the story. The claim of the man at the gas station saying that the everything is getting terrible does prepare the audience for something terrible to actually happen. This is an interesting way of foreshadowing I believe.

    (e) She calls him one of her children in the hopes that he would not kill her and let her go. It is one of her tactics to manipulate the man however, it ends up taking her life.

    (f) I personally do not find the grandmother’s character as likable because she seems to manipulate people at times but she definitely does not strike as a witch or someone with such a tragic end.

    (g) I do not seem to find any biased actions against men. All the characters written seem quite unbiased to me.

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