"A Good Man is Hard to Find" is Flannery O'Connor's most famous short story and it embodies the author's style, tone, and point of view on American culture. Set in the South, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is a foreboding tale that has correspondingly dark elements of humor. Unafraid of frank depictions of violence, O'Connor conveys a sense of hopelessness that may be associated with modern life. In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," an otherwise ordinary grandmother meets with a murderous ex-con called The Misfit. The two eventually have it out verbally. The grandmother's attempt to show the Misfit the potential merits of Christianity results in her murder. The Misfit remains disillusioned with religion, morality, or familial love. Half horror story and half social commentary, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" exemplifies Flannery O'Connor's perspective on modern American society.
O'Connor's audience could be anyone, young, old, rich, poor, educated or not. The story is short and easy to read. Although perhaps unsuitable for younger children because of the overt violence, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" remains accessible for most readers. Because the story is squarely set in the American south and because of the central theme of spiritual disillusionment, however, "A Good Man is Hard to Find" was probably written mostly for an American audience. Americans in particular may used to reading about social "misfits" who go on killing rampages because of the prevalence of violence in the mainstream media.
"A Good Man is Hard to Find" is both character- and plot-driven. The first line of the story, "The grandmother didn't want to go to Florida" reveals the grandmother's stubborn, self-willed nature and also establishes her as the protagonist. Ironically, the protagonist of the story is never named. Like the other females in "A Good Man is Hard to Find," the Grandmother is defined by her relationships, just as Bailey's wife is called "the children's mother.