Class Agenda #78 – Literary Analysis in Short Fiction- A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Class Agenda #78- Literary Analysis in Short Fiction- A Good Man Is Hard To Find V


Look Out for Re-occurring Images, Phrases, or Bit Characters

Poetry isn’t the only place to find verbal imagery and symbolism. If you find yourself asking “Haven’t I seen this before?” then you may have discovered an important motif.

Motif-a distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition.

#355- “Mr. Blue Sky” Electric Light Orchestra (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 possible themes or motifs does Red Sammy reveal in “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”?
  2. Use textual evidence to support your claim.
  3. Analyze how your quote supports your claim.
  • Red Sam came in and told his wife to quit lounging on the counter and hurry up with these people’s order. His khaki trousers reached just to his hip bones and his stomach hung over them like a sack of meal swaying under his shirt. He came over and sat down at a table nearby and let out a combination sigh and yodel. “You can’t win,” he said. “You can’t win,” and he wiped his sweating red face off with a gray handkerchief. “These days you don’t know who to trust,” he said. “Ain’t that the truth?”“People are certainly not nice like they used to be,” said the grandmother.

    “Two fellers come in here last week,” Red Sammy said, “driving a Chrysler. It was a old beat-up car but it was a good one and these boys looked all right to me. Said they worked at the mill and you know I let them fellers charge the gas they bought? Now why did I do that?”

    “Because you’re a good man!” the grandmother said at once.

    “Yes’m, I suppose so,” Red Sam said as if he were struck with this answer.

    His wife brought the orders, carrying the five plates all at once without a tray, two in each hand and one balanced on her arm. “It isn’t a soul in this green world of God’s that you can trust,” she said. “And I don’t count nobody out of that, not nobody,” she repeated, looking at Red Sammy.

    “Did you read about that criminal, The Misfit, that’s escaped?” asked the grandmother.

    “I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he didn’t attack this place right here,” said the woman. “If he hears about it being here, I wouldn’t be none surprised to see him. If he hears it’s two cent in the cash register, I wouldn’t be a tall surprised if he . . .”

    “That’ll do,” Red Sam said. “Go bring these people their Co’-Colas,” and the woman went off to get the rest of the order.

    “A good man is hard to find,” Red Sammy said. “Everything is getting terrible. I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched. Not no more.”

    He and the grandmother discussed better times. The old lady said that in her opinion Europe was entirely to blame for the way things were now. She said the way Europe acted you would think we were made of money and Red Sam said it was no use talking about it, she was exactly right. The children ran outside into the white sunlight and looked at the monkey in the lacy chinaberry tree. He was busy catching fleas on himself and biting each one carefully between his teeth as if it were a delicacy.

    Part II- Motifs and themes

SLT- I can identify major themes and motifs in literature.

  • To identify a motif, you might need to ask yourself, “where have I seen this before?”
  • And then, ask yourself, what does it mean?

Look back at Red Sammy’s Passage-

  • “A good man is hard to find,” Red Sammy said. “Everything is getting terrible. I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched. Not no more.”

    Now Look at the Grandmother-

  • “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.


  • What are the similarities between the two?
  • What motif is possibly being revealed?
  • Therefor you can say what about the author’s purpose for creating Red Sammy?
    • How does his character differ from The  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
    • Red Sammy-

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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