What Role Does Racism Play In A Good Man Is Hard To Find?

Updated 30 September, 2023
In the short story “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” by Flannery O’Connor racism is one of the main themes. The main character of the story, the grandmother, acts as though she is superior and above African Americans in the South.
Detailed answer:

In “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” by southern grotesque writer Flannery O’Connor, the grandmother acts as though she is superior to her grandchildren as well as her son and his wife. Although she did live in an old south mentality and tries to convince the Misfit that she had been changed, she in fact does not change at all for the better but only for the worst.
The grandma always thought she was superior and above African Americans in the South. In the middle of the story she states, “Oh look at the cute little pickaninny she said and pointed to a negro child standing in the door of a shack.” She says this as if it is an entertainment to see the child. Her granddaughter asked her about the child’s britches and she mentions the fact that since the child is black that he is automatically beneath them. Adding on to that, the grandma even says that she’d like to paint the child, as if she thought he was an exotic animal found in the wilderness: “Wouldn’t that be a picture now? He didn’t have any britches on. June Star said. He probably didn’t have any. The grandma explained. Little riggers in the country don’t have things like we do. If I could paint, I’d paint that picture.”
Her views on race and class are revealed to be demeaning and derogatory when she describes a black child as being a “pickaninny” and a “nigger”, the latter of which was still an offensive word to call black people in the mid 20th century.

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