English 254       Class 15           Mon, May 19th

O’Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (handout)


1. What’s your first impression of Bailey and of his mother? What conflict is revealed in the first paragraph?




2. What is the story's central conflict? Plot? Climax and resolution? Who is the protagonist, who the antagonist?




3. What kind of woman is the grandmother? Why does she decide to bring Pitty Sing along? Why does she dress so nicely for the trip? How does she respond to the scenery and Bailey's speed and the children's trash?




4. How does she respond to the black boy they see along the way, and how does this response characterize her, her time and place?




5. What is the role of the children in the story? What would have been the result had O'Connor characterized them as something other than totally obnoxious?




6. Are there any good men in the story?




7. What function does Red Sam serve in the story? What do we learn about the world at Red Sammy’s?




8. What, according to the story, makes a man good?




9. To what extent is the grandmother correct in her praise of The Misfit? In what ways is he a gentleman?



10. What exactly is the conflict between the grandmother and the misfit?




11. Paraphrase The Misfit's philosophy. In what sense could Jesus be said to throw "everything off balance"? How does The Misfit define crime and punishment, goodness and evil?




12. Why does the misfit kill the grandmother?




13. Explain The Misfit's final evaluation of the grandmother: "She would of been a good woman...if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."




14. Is the ending more revelation than resolution?




15. What does the story mean? What's the subject, and what's O'Connor's point about the subject?