The Analysis of Life and Soul in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

Flannery O’Connor’s short story appears to be greatly influenced by the time and place in which she matured, and hence, “A Great Man is Difficult to Find” provides itself quickly in evaluation through biographical criticism. Psychoanalytic criticism can be utilized in mix with biographical criticism to more effectively translate and explain characters within the short story and their ideas, actions, discussions, and traits. “An Excellent Guy is Hard to Find” by O’Connor can be analyzed utilizing biographical criticism and psychoanalytic criticism in order to get a more valuable understanding of the characters within the work and the connections between O’Connor’s reality and the work.

The setting of “An Excellent Male is Difficult to Discover” is a place that is very familiar to O’Connor: The fantastic state of Georgia. O’Connor was a Georgia local, and her work considerably shows the fondness she felt for the South. O’Connor clearly describes keystone qualities of driving through South Georgia: She explained fascinating details of the landscapes: Stone Mountain; the blue granite that in some places came up to both sides of the highway; the dazzling red clay banks a little streaked with purple; and the various crops that made rows of green lace-work on the ground. The trees had lots of silver-white sunshine and the meanest of them sparkled. O’Connor is exposing the appeal of Georgia as she sees it. It is implied that the grandmother in “An Excellent Male is Tough to Discover” is the voice of O’Connor’s passion for the South, particularly Georgia and Tennessee. While the granny as a whole does not straight represent O’Connor, she talks to the state of Georgia in such an individual and endearing manner that can not assist however to be attributed to O’Connor’s own sensations.

O’Connor’s terrific pride for the state of Georgia continues to appear through the granny’s argument against her grandson John Wesley’s wish to “go through Georgia quickly so [they] won’t need to look at it much.” The grandmother boastfully informed John Wesley that “Tennessee has the mountains and Georgia has the hills.” She likewise informed him that him that he ought to have more pride in his native state. A strong sense of O’Connor’s ties to her own native state can be viewed to affect this work as a whole. The grandma’s attitudes towards the South might show O’Connor’s own, but the granny herself does not represent O’Connor or her actual life. The character of the grandmother, however, may be based upon or drawn from a person that O’Connor knew in her real life.

Being that the granny’s character is a somewhat stereotypical woman from the 1950s period South, it can be assumed that there is some sort of real life influence to her character’s nature. The grandma’s commitment toward ladylikeness, her demanding character, and her racist comments are to be anticipated for a woman of her time and location. The grandma’s mindset toward African Americans was the common belief among white people of that time duration in the rural South. A major debate in the 1950s was that of racial segregation and civil rights for African Americans. The granny in “An Excellent Male is Hard to Find” shows an outlook on African Americans that offers an honest take a look at how the society around O’Connor saw issues of race or class. The granny refers to the African American kid in degrading terms that instantly weaken his reliability as a human by her standards: “Oh take a look at the cute little pickaninny!” she stated and indicated a Negro kid standing in the door of a shack. “Would not that make a picture, now?” […] “He most likely didn’t have any [britches],” the grandma explained. “Little riggers in the country don’t have things like we do. If I could paint, I ‘d paint that photo,” she said. The grandma acts as though she is observing an animal at a zoo when she is looking at this young boy in his doorway. She positions herself so high above the young boy that it makes looking at the boy on his actions similar to looking at a photo. This is a significant moment because it exposes a few of the ever-so-moral grandma’s reasonably weak morality. The narrator’s referral to the boy as a “negro” is likewise reflective of the time duration and state of segregation in which O’Connor wrote this story in. The term “negro” would have been socially acceptable and politically correct. The racial language and descriptions used by the narrator and the grandma are useful in comprehending the minute of the work.

Being perceived as ladylike is really essential to the grandma. When preparing to go to Florida with her kid and his household, she made certain to wear very nice clothes and was judgmental of Bailey’s other half’s more casual clothes choices. The storyteller says, The children’s mom still had on slacks and still had her head bound in a green kerchief, however the grandma had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a lot of white violets on the brim and a navy blue gown with a little white dot in the print. Her collars and cuffs were white organdy cut with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets consisting of a sachet. In case of a mishap, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know simultaneously that she was a girl. The method others perceive her is of leading concern to the grandmother. Her need to comply with her own ladylike requirements concurs with thoughts of the time. Being that the grandmother is described as being an old woman in the 1950s, it can be presumed that she was raised in a period that placed particular focus on ladies’s appearance and gown. Her listening to being ladylike is also of value due to the fact that it reveals readers how the granny wishes to present herself. The readers see that granny wants to be viewed as a good lady.

Through using Freud’s Tripartite Psyche, readers may acquire a more extensive understanding the grandma’s character. The id, ego, and superego aid in justifying the actions, ideas, and dialogue of the grandmother’s character. The granny’s id is most obvious when she lies to her grandchildren, John Wesley and June star, about a comprised secret panel in an old home she utilized to reside in. The id is likewise dominant when the grandma chooses not to speak up when she realizes your house that she is leading everybody to is in Tennessee and not Georgia. The grandmother shows no indication of look after repercussions or morality when it concerns lying to the children or keeping her mouth shut about your house. The ego of the grandma appears in the moment that she realizes your home remains in truth not in Georgia. This awareness causes her to jump and terrify the cat, Pitty Sing, which subsequently causes Bailey to trash the vehicle. This minor slip up was her ego’s method of attempting to clear her of the lies that she told. Her ego desires her to remain honest. The superego of the grandmother is not evident till she is in her final moments. Her conscience comes to life when she is on the business-end of The Misfit’s weapon. The granny states, “Why you are among my babies. You are among my own children!” She reaches out and touches The Misfit, and he shoot her three times. The granny’s superego is releasing itself in the form of a surprise. She recognizes that error of her judgmental and hypocritical methods, however it is too late.

In conclusion, “An Excellent Male is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor is a superior work to examine utilizing both the biographical and psychoanalytic schools of criticism. Both schools of criticism aid in the growth of the text and leave space for explanation of the author’s relation to the text, characters within the work, and social and financial classes of the time and place. By utilizing Freud’s Tripartite Mind, readers may expand on characters like the granny and gain a much deeper understanding of why characters have specific attitudes or do specific things.