Subtle Characterization in A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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Throughout her short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” Flannery O’Connor uses subtle characterization to establish the characters of the Misfit and the Grandmother. While some of the characteristics in the story are straightforward and easily understood, others require one to look beneath the surface. Upon one’s first reading of the story, he or she most likely believes that the Misfit is a dangerous, bad criminal, and the Grandmother just an …

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…to Find” shows that the Grandmother is the real criminal in the story. All the qualities the Misfit represents- honesty, respect, and compassion- the Grandmother lacks. The story proves that just because the Grandmother is old does not necessarily mean she is kind and caring and just because the Misfit is a criminal does not necessarily make him a bad man. In fact, he has gotten more out of life than the Grandmother ever did.