Grandmother's Multifaceted Personality in A Good Man Is Hard to Find

In “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, the grandmother has a multifaceted personality that becomes clearer as the story develops. She is deceitful, self—absorbed, and presents a false self to give herself an edge. The grandmother pretends to be upper class and proper to appear wealthy and successful. She passes down this personality trait to her son Bailey, who also occasionally showcases these characteristics while dealing with his family and especially when interacting with the grandmother.

The grandmother also demonstrates that her life revolves around receiving the praise of others and not respect for herself. The only way to gain the self-respect she so desires is to get others’ admiration first. Her personality is displayed immediately in the first paragraph when the grandmother clearly identifies herself as selfish and passive-aggressive. She shows her narcissistic traits by saying, “I wouldn‘t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that loose in it. 1 couldn’t answer to my conscience if I did”.

Her emphasis on the word “1” indicates the way in which she believes that she is better and always knows better than others, She also puts her needs above those of her family. For instance, the author states as the opening sentence of the story, “The grandmother [doesn‘t] want to go to Florida. This point blank statement is emphasizing the importance of the grandmother‘s opinions. Throughout the story more aspects of the grandmother’s personality come out. One key element that makes itself clear is her racism.

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She makes racist comments such as, “Little niggers in the country don’t have things like we do”. This further proves her to be a malicious and bigoted person in the service of once again having to feel superior. Moreover, the aspect of racism, while not playing a direct role in the story, shows that the grandmother is not a kind person overall, This plays in while talking to the runaway convict, The Misfit.

When The Misfit says, she would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life” this gives an example of her being a reprobate. She often deceives her family for personal gain. Her conversation with The Misfit shows how much of a false persona the grandmother puts up. Once there is a gun pointed at her she immediately turns from a cruel and manipulative person to a kind sweet lady who almost acts as if she is a preacher. The grandmother immediately starts saying things such as, “Pray! Jesus, you ought not to shoot a lady.” This is an example of the facade that she puts up to give herself a chance to survive with The Misfit She lies to him, her family, and even herself to get ahead in life and to keep from getting killed. The example of lying to avoid getting shot is an extreme situation put forth by Flannery O‘Connor to show how the Grandmother operates till the end.

This deceptive and cruel personality manifests itself in her relationship with her son, Bailey She often calls him “Bailey Boy“ showing affection with the nickname On the other hand, she is often passive-aggressive towards him and disobeys him nearly constantly. For example, she brings along the family cat while knowing that Bailey does not want her to take it This also eventually sparks the confrontation with The Misfit, The grandmother often only thinks of herself. The end result of all this selfishness is that Bailey is scared for life. He is often angry towards his mother and can snap very easily, He may even have post—traumatic stress disorder from not being cared for correctly. The personality traits of the grandmother may have forever hurt Bailey, Bailey is not the only one influenced by the grandmother‘s behavior. The kids are equally affected by her. They see her being a cruel and bratty person but come to think that her behavior is acceptable.

This causes them to inherit, or learn, racism, passive-aggressive behavior, and many other negativesi For example, the youngest daughter June Star says “I wouldn‘t live in a broken down place like this for a million bucks. This is the effect of having a negative role model so strongly intertwined in one’s life, This, in the end, does not matter as the children are killed because of a mistake the grandmother made and her narcissism and greed. The actions of the grandmother are very impulsive, She often thinks and then does instead of considering risks and evaluating based on safety. She is very adolescent in this way. For example, she yells out “You’re The Misfit!” without considering the risk of identifying him. There may have been an event in her childhood causing her to retain some traits from being a teenager, a traumatic experience causing her to stay rebellious, self-centered, and impulsive She may have been put into work very early robbing her of a real childhood.

Although the grandmother is an awful person, she has some redeeming qualities; these are shown in her relationship with the cat. O’Connor writes, “She didn’t intend for the cat to be left alone in the house for three days because he would miss her too much and she is afraid he might brush against one of the gas burners and accidentally asphyxiate himself”. She uses this phrase to show the love that she contains deep down. While the love may not be for a human, the fact that it exists demonstrates she has something of a heart, Maybe the grandmother identifies with the cat in that she feels small and fragile. Abandoning the cat feels to her like someone is abandoning her. The grandmother overcompensates by taking the cat to feel as if she herself matters. On the other hand, the way that she says the cat will miss her shows how self-centered she is in general.

She assumes that the cat will only miss her and notjust be lonely. Moreover, it again hints towards her self-centered attitude towards life She considers the world to be revolving around her. She does not mention the fact that the cat may miss her whole family. The grandmother does not panic nor does she demonstrate that she feels any pain about her entire family being killed. To her their deaths are just collateral damage. She considers them supporting actors in the play of m life She does not care about them She only cares about the star of her show: herself. In conclusion, the grandmother has a strongly evil personality.

She is passive aggressive, abusive, racist, and is frankly a wicked person. This pushes Bailey to the edge, not letting him be a proper parent to his children, this in turn leads the children to be closer to the grandmother, She imprints her evil traits on them, raising another generation of despicable people. When The Misfit eventually kills them, all he is, in some way, committing a positive crime. He is ridding the world of generation upon generation of evil people. This being said, they do not actually deserve to diet. This is because, while they may not be the kindest of people, they are still people chipping in to society, while it may just by doing a job, and making a difference in the world. The grandmother is the undoing of them all both in life and in death by leaving an evil reputation behind that can never he escaped.

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Grandmother's Multifaceted Personality in A Good Man Is Hard to Find. (2023, Apr 08). Retrieved from

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