The characters in Flannery OÆConnorÆs ôA Good Man is Hard to Findö are hard, that is they are hard headed. The GrandmotherÆs insistence that her family take a detour to view a historic house results in the murder of her grandchildren, son, daughter-in-law and the old woman herself. Only an act of murder appears to break through the GrandmotherÆs belief that faith and prayer resolve all problems. As OÆConnor (251) says in ôA Reasonable Use of the Unreasonable,ö ôFrom the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.ö It is the contrasting mixture of faith and violence in human nature that OÆConnor illuminates most in ôA Good Man is Hard to Find.ö
After insisting her son Bailey make a detour, the Grandmother and her three grandchildren, son, and daughter-in-law are involved in a car accident which strands them. While stranded, three criminals who have recently escaped from jail appear to come to their aid. However, the criminals have murderous intentions. The Grandmother engages in a conversation with the lead criminal, the ôMisfit,ö as the other criminals murder the other family members. Unlike the compassionate Grandmother whose strong faith in God makes her reach out to the criminal, the Misfit informs her his father told him he was ôa different breed of dogö compared to his brothers and sisters (OÆConnor 293).
The Grandmother attempts to bring the Misfit salvation by telling him to adopt prayer. When he tells her heÆs been incarcerated, she tells him ôThatÆs when you should have started to prayö (OÆConnor 294). However, showing OÆConnorÆs belief that some individuals are violent because they choose to be so, the Misfit tells the Grandmother in the face of her appeals ôI donÆt want no hepö (OÆConnor 294). The Misfit says this even though he admits Jesus might help him if he would turn to prayer. In these two cha