Class Agenda #76 – Literary Analysis in Short Fiction- A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Class Agenda #76- Literary Analysis in Short Fiction- A Good Man Is Hard To Find III


Listen to Characters

When characters in novels speak or ponder at length, it’s time to pay attention. Like soliloquies in drama, a lengthy speech or inner monologue can give you insight into the character’s motives, an idea of his or her world view, and even a clue to central themes in the work.

#589- “Lose Control” Missy Elliot (4:17)

Part I-  SLT-I can identify evidence to analyze the text and draw inferences. (R1)

Journal- Based on the the following selection from “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” By Flannery O’Conner:

  1. What does the passage reveal about the relationship between the Grandmother and her family? The family dynamic.
  2. Use textual evidence to support your claim.
  3. Analyze how your quote supports your claim.
  • The children’s mother didn’t seem to hear her but the eight-year-old boy, John Wesley, a stocky child with glasses, said, “If you don’t want to go to Florida, why dontcha stay at home?” He and the little girl, June Star, were reading the funny papers on the floor.“She wouldn’t stay at home to be queen for a day,” June Star said without raising her yellow head.

    “Yes and what would you do if this fellow, The Misfit, caught you?” the grandmother asked.

    “I’d smack his face,” John Wesley said.

    “She wouldn’t stay at home for a million bucks,” June Star said. “Afraid she’d miss something. She has to go everywhere we go.”

    “All right, Miss,” the grandmother said. “Just re- member that the next time you want me to curl your hair.”

    June Star said her hair was naturally curly.

Table Share. Intern and B circulate.

Part II- Close Reading a Text

  • You have to notice things and ask questions. Think of yourself as a detective looking for the hidden meanings and nuances of texts.
  • Let’s look back at our example.
  1. Think Pair Share- Read the following passage.
  2. THINK- Analyze the relationship between the grandmother and her grand kids.
  3. Partner 1- Share the nature of their relationship.
  4. Partner 2- take notes, say back to partner 1 what they said. Ask 1 followup Question. Looking at our Anchor Chart.


“Let’s go through Georgia fast so we won’t have to look at it much,” John Wesley said.

“If I were a little boy,” said the grandmother, “I wouldn’t talk about my native state that way. Tennessee has the mountains and Georgia has the hills.”

“Tennessee is just a hillbilly dumping ground,” John Wesley said, “and Georgia is a lousy state too.”

“You said it,” June Star said.

“In my time,” said the grandmother, folding her thin veined fingers, “children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else. People did right then. Oh look at the cute little pickaninny!” she said and pointed to a Negro child standing in the door of a shack. “Wouldn’t that make a picture, now?” she asked and they all turned and looked at the little Negro out of the back window. He waved

“He didn’t have any britches on,” June Star said.

“He probably didn’t have any,” the grandmother explained. “Little riggers in the country don’t have things like we do. If I could paint, I’d paint that picture,” she said.

The children exchanged comic books.

Part III- “A Good Man Is Hard To Find

“A Good Man Is Hard To Find” text

“A Good Man Is Hard To Find” audio (IMPROVED!!)

As We Read the first time- Create:

  • Annotated List of Characters as we Read
    • Grandmother- Family matriarch. Has strong opinions and a heightened sense of fashion.
    • Bailey- The grandmother’s son. Seems to be bullied by grandmother
    • The Missfit- A villianous character lurking in the background.
    • Mother- unassuming character, juxtaposing grandmother.
    • June Star- Young child
    • John Weasly- Young child

Second Reading

“A Good Man is Hard to Find”

Discussion Questions

  1. How does the grandmother’s early apprehensions about the trip to Florida foreshadow the major crisis in the story?
  1. What does the grandmother’s relationship to her family tell us about her personality?
  1. If the old woman had kept her mouth shut, not revealing that she recognized The Misfit, would the family be alive at the end of the story? Or did The Misfit intend to kill all the family members when he pulled up alongside their car?
  1. What does the grandmother say to the Misfit to try to convince him not to kill her? Does the conversation alter his viewpoints in any way?
  1. What has The Misfit’s life been like? Why was he put in jail? He says he kills for pleasure. Is there another reason?
  1. Explain the problem the Misfit has with Jesus. How is his religious conviction different from the grandmother’s?
  1. How do The Misfit’s final words illustrate his attitude toward the events of the afternoon?
  1. What is the role of chance or fate in the story?

Exit Ticket- What are some of the important themes in this text?

Homework- Respond to some readings from the #validus.


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