Flannery O’Connor brought to life and portrayed the grandmother as a very manipulative, selfish and talkative old lady in the story “A Good Man Is Hard to find. ” Grandmother presented herself as a proper little lady who lived in the past and believed her way to be the best way. Throughout the family trip, that she wasn’t warmly welcomed to attend, the Grandmother ran her mouth consistently and frustrated her son Bailey as well as his wife and eldest children, John Wesley and June Star, with whom she lived with.
Grandmother’s persistence at being annoying and self- serving ultimately leads to the abrupt and brutal end of a family vacation that no one had planned. In the beginning of the story, the Grandmother was already putting up a fuss over the location of the family trip. As an excuse, the Grandmother used the news reports of a criminal named The Misfit who was supposedly headed to Florida as leverage to sway Bailey, her only son, to change his mind.
Grandmother tried her best to persuade Bailey into taking the family to Tennessee instead of Florida where she was convinced that there was danger and that the safety of the family was of far more importance than the possible fun they would have down there. “I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn’t answer to my conscience if I did,” (1) the grandmother had said to Bailey.
However, the grandmother failed to mention to everyone that she was more interested in getting to east Tennessee to visit some of her connections and that indeed that was her motivation for attempting to make her son feel guilty for possibly endangering his family. Yet, when it became clear that she would not get her way with Bailey, the grandmother did not give up but instead turned to Bailey’s wife, who simply ignored her. Grandmother would eventually pack and be headed off to Florida with the family dressed in her suit, hat, and little white gloves, disregarding the warm weather , being that she was a “lady”.
However, unannounced to everyone, grandmother secretly stashed away Pitty Sing, the cat, in the car, which would later lead to the harsh end of the family trip. Grandmother was always thinking and looking out for herself. Continuously throughout the story, the Grandmother critically judged her family as well as other people with whom she came into contact. For example, grandmother scolded her grandson, John Wesley, when he showed little regard for his native state. The grandmother constantly reminded everyone that she was a “lady” and didn’t hesitate to speak on her own behalf.
The biggest example of the grandmother’s self-serving ways came about when she manipulated the children into wanting to visit a house from her childhood in which she lied and said had a secret panel. “It would be very educational for them,” (6) the grandma had murmured. Yet, even when the Grandma realized that she had made a mistake and that the house to which she had referred to was in a totally different state, she failed to inform her family because she was embarrassed. Smuggling her cat into the car against her son’s order, due to her stubbornness to leave it, led to the much more problematic events.
The cat, Pitty Sing, leaped from its hiding place and leapt onto Bailey, who was driving at the time, and caused the car accident that would put the family right into the path of The Misfit and his sidekicks. Even after the accident, the grandmother didn’t acknowledge her wrongdoing but instead acted like she may have been seriously injured. Grandma could never seem to shut her mouth even when it would have benefited her far more than running her mouth. Upon The Misfit and his sidekicks arriving on the scene, the Grandmother recognized who The Misfit was and blurted out her discovery to everyone, including The Misfit himself.
Bailey immediately turned to his mother and said words to her that were far from kind. During the whole encounter with The Misfit, Grandma tried to weasel her way out of being killed and attempted to use manipulation to gain the upper hand. “You wouldn’t shoot a lady, would you? ” the grandmother Throughout the murders of her son, his wife, and his three children the grandma did not even try to save them but instead kept trying to get The Misfit to spare her own life. Eventually, the grandmother’s mouth became too much for The Misfit to bear.
Up until the very end, the grandmother talked but it was not enough to save herself. The grandmother’s manipulation, selfishness, and talkative ways ultimately led to the brutal end of not only herself but also her family. Grandmother’s negative ways all came back to haunt her and being a “lady” could not save her. Having had more positive traits could have led to a happy ending but when the grandmother failed to see the faults within herself she paid the ultimate price.