Behavior wise the grandmother is a selfish woman who deliberately manipulates her family to suit her own purposes unapologetically and with impunity.
She intentionally misinforms her son Bailey about her cat, Pitty Sing, which she smuggles into the car underneath her “big black valise that looked like the head of a hippopotamus,” even though Bailey has expressly forbid the cat to share the motel room with them (O’Connor 1).
Everything in this story works together to create a mood and part of this mood, this tone in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is very much based on foreshadowing, especially after the family crashes.
Notice that the car approaches slowly to “help” them and that it looks like a hearse.
All of the things that we occupy ourselves with, that we find important in the moment, are really nothing.
I’m not trying to depress you here or anything (although if you read the story you’re probably already feeling a little depressed) but in many ways it seems that O’Connor goes through such great lengths to detail the journey so that she can build character profiles and also so that she can show just how grimly meaningless many of the small things we concern ourselves with are in the grand scheme of things.After all, it is not until she is confronted with death that the grandmother shows any sign of depth and even this has been, in countless analysis efforts by scholars, also seen as a final act of manipulation.Look at the sources on the next page for “A Good Man is Hard to Find” for far more explanation of the meaning of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” in terms of salvation and religion.Pitty Sing later brings about the deaths of the whole family following the car accident and ensuing encounter with The Misfit.The grandmother’s pride and inflated sense of self importance, not to mention her failing memory, bring about the family’s downfall.Upon waking up from a nap in the car, the grandmother claims to remember a plantation house from her youth.Even though she knows that her son Bailey “would not be willing to lose any time looking at an old house…the more she talked about it, the more she wanted to see it once again and find out if the little twin arbors were still standing” (O’Connor 5).Her son’s reluctance, in her mind, remains a simple obstacle to overcome in her desire to get things done her way.Even though Bailey’s “jaw was as rigid as a horseshoe” in response to her goading, the grandmother does not relent (O’Connor 5).This sickening adherence to just about every stereotype of the old South that the grandmother represents is part of what makes her a grotesque character.In fact, every member of the family is grotesque in some way; the children by their over-the-top rudeness and lack of manners, the father by his intense, simmering anger paired with a bright, happy-looking parrot shirt, the mother by her lack of personality or character—and, of course, the Misfit by his complete lack of regard for anything or anyone.