A Good Man Is Hard To Find CommonLit Answers

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Stuck on CommonLit’s questions for “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”? Get clear, concise answers and explanations right here. Dive into themes, character motivations, and what the story reveals about fate and human nature.

Activity Answers

In your opinion, was The Misfit born bad, or did the unfair punishment he was subjected to shape the person he became?

Answer: In my view, the unjust treatment and punishment The Misfit endured played a significant role in shaping his character. The experience of being wrongly accused and punished for a crime he did not commit instilled a deep-seated anger in him.

This anger gradually became an integral part of his personality and worldview, significantly influencing his actions and choices later in life.


In the context of the text, why do people do bad things? Can the characters and their actions in this story be categorized as either good or bad? Why does the Misfit do what he does? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

Answer: The text suggests that individuals often commit bad actions as a form of revenge or to communicate a message, born out of their personal experiences or emotional responses. This pattern is not uncommon in literature and real life, where people sometimes act harmfully towards others as a means to express or alleviate their own suffering or frustration.

In the case of The Misfit, his actions can be interpreted as a response to the anger and injustice he felt from his past experiences. Being wrongfully accused and punished likely fueled a sense of resentment and disillusionment, leading him to act out against others.

This is a coping mechanism observed in various contexts, where individuals who feel wronged or oppressed may resort to negative actions as a form of retaliation or expression.

As for the other characters in the story, like the grandmother, their actions seem to be driven more by fear and a desire to reason with The Misfit. They represent the more common, fear-driven responses people have in dangerous situations.

The distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters in the story is not absolute; rather, it reflects the complex spectrum of human motivations and reactions. Each character’s actions are shaped by their circumstances, beliefs, and emotions, illustrating the nuanced nature of moral judgment in both literature and life.


In the context of the text, how do people face death? Consider the different characters of “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” as well as other characters in literature, art, or history in your answer.

Answer: In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” the characters’ confrontation with death is primarily characterized by grief and emotional breakdown. As the family in the story hears gunshots, they react with tears and weakness, embodying a visceral response to the imminent threat of death.

This portrayal is consistent with many real-life reactions where individuals face death with profound grief and a struggle to persevere through difficult times.

In broader literary and artistic contexts, the confrontation with death is depicted in various ways. For instance, in Shakespeare’s works, characters often face death with a mix of acceptance, fear, and philosophical reflection, as seen in Hamlet’s soliloquies.

In historical contexts, figures like Socrates faced death with stoicism and intellectual curiosity, as depicted in Plato’s dialogues.

In the realm of visual arts, the portrayal of death varies significantly. In some Renaissance paintings, death is depicted as a peaceful transition, while in other eras, like the Romantic period, it is often portrayed with dramatic emotion and turmoil.

Each representation reflects different cultural, historical, and individual attitudes towards death. While “A Good Man is Hard to Find” presents death as a moment of emotional fragility and despair, other works and historical instances showcase a range of responses, from philosophical contemplation to stoic acceptance, highlighting the diverse ways in which humanity has grappled with this ultimate inevitability.


In the context of the text, how does fear drive action? How does fear drive the grandmother’s choices throughout the story? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

Answer: In “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” fear is a potent catalyst for action, particularly evident in the behavior of the grandmother. As the situation with The Misfit escalates, her fear manifests as desperation, compelling her to plead for mercy.

Her offer to give The Misfit all her money, as mentioned in paragraph 130, is a clear indication of her fear-driven desperation. She is willing to sacrifice everything, even her possessions, for the sake of her life. This reaction is a raw human response to the imminent threat of death.

Comparatively, in other literary and historical contexts, fear often drives characters or real individuals to take drastic actions. For instance, in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” the titular character is driven by fear of losing his power, leading him to commit further heinous acts. In a historical context, during the Cold War, the fear of nuclear annihilation drove countries to engage in an arms race and adopt policies of deterrence.

Fear, as a primal emotion, has universally been a powerful motivator in human behavior. Whether it’s in literature, art, or real-life scenarios, fear can push individuals to act in ways they might not under normal circumstances, often leading to desperate, irrational, or extreme actions.

The grandmother’s actions in the story are a testament to this, illustrating how fear can override rational thought and lead to desperate measures in the face of mortal danger.


In the context of the text, can we control our fate? Is the family in control of what happens to them? How does the text comment on who is ultimately in control? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

Answer: “A Good Man is Hard to Find” presents a nuanced view of fate and control, suggesting that while individuals have agency in their choices, their fate can also be influenced by external factors and the actions of others. In the story, the family does exercise some control over their situation, as seen in their attempts to reason with The Misfit.

However, ultimately, it’s The Misfit’s decisions that determine their fate. This reflects the complex interplay between personal agency and external circumstances in determining outcomes.

This theme resonates with various other works in literature, art, and history. For instance, in Greek tragedies, characters often struggle against their fate, as predetermined by the gods, highlighting the tension between free will and destiny.

In Shakespeare’s plays, characters frequently grapple with the consequences of their actions, suggesting a mix of fate and personal choice in shaping outcomes.

Historically, this theme is evident in events where individual decisions have significant impacts yet are influenced by larger, uncontrollable forces. For example, in World War I, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a decision made by an individual, which triggered a series of events that were beyond the control of any single person or nation.

In both the story and these wider contexts, the concept of fate is shown to be a complex interplay of personal decisions and external forces.

While individuals can exert control through their choices, they are often subject to the unpredictability of other people’s actions and broader circumstances, suggesting that control over one’s fate is never absolute.

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
PART A: Which of the following best identifies a theme of the text?It is important to present a certain image to the world.
PART B: Which section best supports the answer to Part A?“She reached out and touched him on the shoulder. The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest.”
PART A: What does paragraph 45 reveal about the grandmother’s character?The grandmother has a bad relationship with her son.
PART B: Which quote from paragraph 45 best supports the answer to Part A?“There was a secret panel in this house,’ she said craftily, not telling the truth but wishing that she were”
PART A: Which of the following best explains the relationship the grandmother has with her son?Strained because they are very different
PART B: Which passage from the text best supports the answer to Part A?“She wanted to visit some of her connections in east Tennessee and she was seizing at every chance to change Bailey’s mind. Bailey was the son she lived with, her only boy.” (Paragraph 1)
How does describing the grandmother as “a parched old turkey crying for water” in paragraph 132 contribute to her characterization?It emphasizes the grandmother’s desperation in the situation.
How does O’Connor use foreshadowing to contribute to the story’s meaning? Explain at least two examples of foreshadowing and how they develop the theme of the story.Flannery O’Connor uses foreshadowing in her stories to hint at future events and to develop the themes of her work. Two examples of this can be seen in her story “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”
Firstly, the grandmother’s insistence on visiting the old plantation, despite being told it’s in a different state, foreshadows the family’s eventual doom. This insistence on living in the past and ignoring the reality of the present contributes to the story’s theme of the destructive nature of nostalgia and denial.
Secondly, the Misfit’s escape from prison, mentioned in the beginning of the story, foreshadows the family’s violent encounter with him. This event develops the theme of the story that evil can strike at any time, and that one’s moral character is truly revealed in times of crisis.
How does O’Connor use figurative language to develop the tone of the story? Explain at least three examples of figurative language and how they develop the tone of the story.O Connor’s language during this story drives the reader to investigate it stylistically, since there are several words, phrases, sentences, and utterances, that are associated with some rhetorical terms, like figurative language, puns, creativity, rhetorical deviation, and wordplay.
In this story, the use of figurative language is based on the comparison, the use of simile and personification makes the reader excited.
The three examples used in the story are :
“I’d smack his face,” John Wesley said.
“Tennessee is just a hillbilly dumping ground,” John Wesley said, “and Georgia is a lousy state too.”
“My daddy said I was a different breed of dog from my brothers and sisters.”
How do the grandmother’s attempts to reason with The Misfit evolve throughout their exchange, and how does this connect to the themes of the text?The grandmother kept trying to talk some sense into The Misfit that he is truly actually a good man. But, the more she talked, the worse things got and the more desperate she got. She based her thought of him being a good man by his appearance. By that, she tried reasoning with him, causing things to get much worse.
Throughout their exchange, the grandmother’s attempts to reason with The Misfit evolve from a naive belief that she can convince him to be a good man to a desperate plea for her own life. Initially, she tries to appeal to his sense of morality by insisting that he is a good person deep down. She believes that by emphasizing his appearance and manners, she can convince him to spare her and her family.
However, as The Misfit continues to challenge her beliefs and question the existence of true goodness, the grandmother becomes more desperate and fearful. She realizes that her attempts to reason with him are futile and that her own life is in danger.
This evolution of the grandmother’s attempts to reason with The Misfit highlights the theme of the story, which explores the complexities of human nature and the inability to fully understand or control the actions of others. It also serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of making assumptions based solely on appearances.

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Dr. Evelyn Wordsworth
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Dr. Evelyn Wordsworth is a seasoned linguist and literacy educator with over 7 years of experience in the field. Holding a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the prestigious Harvard University, Evelyn has dedicated her career to exploring the intricacies of language acquisition and promoting literacy among diverse learner populations.

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