Class Agenda #77 – Literary Analysis in Short Fiction- A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Class Agenda #77- Literary Analysis in Short Fiction- A Good Man Is Hard To Find IV


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.

#590- “Gossip Folks” Missy Elliot Ft Ludicrous (3:45)

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 grandmother’s value system?
  2. Use textual evidence to support your claim.
  3. Analyze how your quote supports your claim.
  • When the children finished all the comic books they had brought, they opened the lunch and ate it. The grandmother ate a peanut butter sandwich and an olive and would not let the children throw the box and the paper napkins out the window. When there was nothing else to do they played a game by choosing a cloud and making the other two guess what shape it suggested. John Wesley took one the shape of a cow and June Star guessed a cow and John Wesley said, no, an automobile, and June Star said he didn’t play fair, and they began to slap each other over the grandmother.The grandmother said she would tell them a story if they would keep quiet. When she told a story, she rolled her eyes and waved her head and was very dramatic. She said once when she was a maiden lady she had been courted by a Mr. Edgar Atkins Teagarden from Jasper, Georgia. She said he was a very good-looking man and a gentleman and that he brought her a watermelon every Saturday afternoon with his initials cut in it, E. A. T. Well, one Saturday, she said, Mr. Teagarden brought the watermelon and there was nobody at home and he left it on the front porch and returned in his buggy to Jasper, but she never got the watermelon, she said, because a nigger boy ate it when he saw the initials, E. A. T. ! This story tickled John Wesley’s funny bone and he giggled and giggled but June Star didn’t think it was any good. She said she wouldn’t marry a man that just brought her a watermelon on Saturday. The grandmother said she would have done well to marry Mr. Teagarden because he was a gentle man and had bought Coca-Cola stock when it first came out and that he had died only a few years ago, a very wealthy man.

    Table Share. Intern and B circulate.

Part II- Author’s Purpose 

SLT- I can evaluate the nuances of authors purpose in a story.

It’s to entertain or inform, right?

  • Not quite… It can be more nuanced than that. Let’s look at the following passageL:
  • “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.


  • We can conclude from this paragraph that the Grandmother is racist, and that the kids don’t care for her. 

What is the author’s purpose for creating this character then? You have to do some detective work. Ask yourself:

  • What do we know about the grandmother?
  • Is this entertaining or informative?
  • Is the author trying teach me something?
  • Why does the author want me to see things this way?

CFU- what are some possible reasons that Flannery O’Conner would create this grandmother?

  • 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. Racist and clasist indivudal. No one in the family seems to like her.
    • 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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