Copyright

A Good Man is Hard to Find: Characters & Setting

A Good Man is Hard to Find: Characters & Setting
Coming up next: A Good Man is Hard to Find: Theme & Symbolism

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Synopsis
  • 1:20 Setting
  • 2:14 Characters
  • 4:49 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Katherine Garner

Katie teaches middle school English/Language Arts and has a master's degree in Secondary English Education

This lesson will provide you with a synopsis of a well-known work in the Southern Gothic genre, Flannery O'Connor's short story 'A Good Man is Hard to Find.' Explore the descriptions of its setting and main characters, then test your understanding with a few quiz questions.

Synopsis

Southern Gothic writing is often characterized as having flawed characters and depicting unsettling tales of violence. Let's look at a well-known work in this genre, Flannery O'Connor's 'A Good Man is Hard to Find,' as well as descriptions of its setting and main characters.

An old woman takes a trip with her son and his family to Florida. The old woman doesn't want to go because she's heard about a convict who has escaped from jail and is on the loose in Florida. After having a car accident caused by the old woman's cat that she snuck into the car, the family is stranded on the side of the road. Three men soon approach, saying they saw the accident happen.

One of the men takes a look at the car, while another one, who seems to be the leader, tells the third man to take the father and little boy of the family into the woods. Soon, gunshots are heard. The grandmother pleads with the men desperately to have mercy. The leader then instructs the same man to take the wife, baby, and little girl into the woods. More gunshots are heard. Finally, the leader himself, who has been describing his past full of unfair punishment, shoots the old woman. At the end, he comments to his companions, 'It's no real pleasure in life.'

Setting

The story takes place on and around back country roads in the South. The family lives in Atlanta and is traveling through Georgia on their way to Florida. The family stops at a place called The Tower for barbecue sandwiches, owned by a man named Red Sammy and his wife. After lunch, the family takes a detour down a dirt road to find a plantation with a secret trap door the grandmother had described. Because of this detour, they are in a less populated, isolated area near the woods when they have their accident and are approached by the men.

The setting is also illustrated through the characters' dialect, or particular way of speaking that shows where they are from. The wife of Red Sammy says, 'Isn't a soul in this green world of God's that you can trust…and I don't count nobody out of that, not nobody.' O'Connor carefully writes the dialogue of her characters to reflect where they are from.

Characters

This short story has a small cast of characters. It is interesting to note that O'Connor never gives the name of the grandmother, even though she seems to be the central character. She also never names the grandmother's daughter-in-law; she is referred to most often as 'the children's mother.' This creates some distance between the characters, suggesting that they are not very close. Here are descriptions of each of the characters, in order of their appearance in the story:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support