Introducing “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” by Flannery O’Connor (with Sufjan Stevens)


good man

The purpose of this post is simply to provoke curiosity for Flannery O’Connor and her fictional work, as epitomized in her short story “A Good Man Is Hard To Find.”

The song by Sufjan Stevens is loosely based on the story and seems be a telling of the story through the character called “the misfit,” who is an escaped serial killer.

Ralph C. Wood says of O’Connor, “she observed that while lots of folks get killed in her work, nobody gets hurt.” (Flannery O’Connor and the Christ Haunted South, Ralph C. Wood; p. 39)

“It seems to me,” Flannery O’Connor declared, “that all good stories are about conversion, about a character’s changing.” Whether secular or religious in their origins and intentions, novels and stories having lasting merit always depict characters faced with moral challenges and spiritual quandaries that demand their transformation. Whether these tests are met for good or ill, the characters are changed: they are converted. The New Testament word for conversion – metanoia – literally means to alter one’s mind, to revolutionize the entire course of one’s life, to turn around, to travel in the opposite direction. In most of O’Connor’s stories the central character undergoes a painful confrontation with their own pride and presumption, behold themselves in the blinding light of divine grace and, if only at the last moment of their lives, come to radical conversion. Neither in her novels nor her stories does she take her protagonists beyond their sudden and drastic conversion; we are rarely shown the consequences of this total turnabout in their lives.”  (Wood; p. 217)

Once in the backyard
She was once like me
She was once like me
Twice when I killed them
They were once at peace
They were once like me

Hold to your gun, man
And put off all your beast
Put off all the beast
Paid a full of these, I wait for it
But someone’s was like me
She was once like me

I once was better
I put off all my grief
I put off all my grief
So I go to hell, I wait for it
But someone’s left me creased
Someone’s left me creased

Ralph C. Wood on reading Flannery O’Connor

Online version of “A Good Man is Hard To Find”

Wikipedia article (which contains a link for an audio reading of the story by Flannery O’Connor)


Comments are always welcome!

BMC @ Manifest Propensity, 2013