Psychological Analysis of “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”
October 3, 2012
In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," Flannery O'Connor exposes a seemingly happy, if a little idiosyncratic, family to unexpected and graphic horror. The family sets out with the intention of enjoying a vacation, but ends up being blindsided by fate. Although unbeknownst to O’Connor, she reveals bits of her unconscious thoughts, according to Sigmund Freud, through the characters of The Misfit and the Grandmother.
This story is similar to O'Connor's own life story. O’Connor lost her father when she was fifteen years old and, understandably, she may not have been able to fully recover from that trauma. According to Freud’s Electra complex, growing up without a father may have affected her transition into woman hood and her relationship with men in the future. Flannery could never quite get the hang of being in a relationship. Even though her passage to womanhood was successful, there may have been “many painful memories of repressed sexual desires, anger, rage, and guilt in [her] unconscious” because of her loss [ (Bressler 130) ]. She referred to herself as "a lifelong victim of unrequited love" and stated that her disease left her only enough energy to dedicate to one thing, and she chose writing (Reuben). The story's protagonist, the grandmother, is a woman obsessed with the past. She mentions a man from her past, Mr. Edgar Atkins Teagarden, with almost a sense of regret. She had the opportunity to marry him and hinted that she should have married him. Telling this story about Mr. Teagarden may be O’Connor’s unconscious combining the fact that she is living in the past and regrets decisions regarding past relationships. Put simply, her work is an “external expression of [her] unconscious mind…[uncovering her] hidden motivations, repressed desires, and wishes” [ (Bressler) ]. O'Connor did not intend to represent herself through the Grandmother, since the old woman displays...