A Good Man Is Hard to Find
First edition cover
|Published||1955 (Harcourt, Brace and Company)|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories (published in England as The Artificial Nigger and Other Tales) is a collection of short stories by American author Flannery O'Connor. The collection was first published in 1955. The subjects of the short stories range from baptism ("The River") to serial killers ("A Good Man Is Hard to Find") to human greed and exploitation ("The Life You Save May Be Your Own"). The majority of the stories include jarring violent scenes that make the characters undergo a spiritual change. The short stories commonly have tones of Catholicism related to life and death scenarios. For instance, in the story "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" the villain states, "She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."
It contains the following stories:
- "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"
- "The River"
- "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"
- "A Stroke of Good Fortune"
- "A Temple of the Holy Ghost"
- "The Artificial Nigger"
- "A Circle in the Fire"
- "A Late Encounter with the Enemy"
- "Good Country People"
- "The Displaced Person"
O'Connor's story title was taken from the blues song, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find", written by Eddie Green and popularized by the singer Bessie Smith in 1927.
A television adaptation of the short story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own", starring Gene Kelly, was broadcast on the CBS network's Schlitz Playhouse on February 1, 1957. O'Connor was not pleased with the results, as evidenced in a letter to a friend: "The best I can say for it is that it conceivably could have been worse. Just conceivably."
A short film adaptation of the story "A Good Man Is Hard to Find", titled "Black Hearts Bleed Red", was released in 1993. The film was directed by New York filmmaker Jeri Cain Rossi and stars noted New York artist Joe Coleman.
An original 45-minute modern chamber opera based on "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" was completed in 2003 by David Volk, a University of Georgia music doctoral student, as part of his dissertation requirements in composition. The chamber opera was performed at the Seney-Stovall Chapel in Athens with grant funding from the University's Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE). Later that same year, the work was performed at Piedmont College in Demorest, GA, and in Milledgeville, GA, at "Flannery O'Connor: The Visionary and the Vernacular," an interdisciplinary conference sponsored by Georgia College and State University (and home of the Flannery O'Connor Library). In 2007, the work was performed at the University of Virginia's College at Wise where Dr. Volk teaches as Assistant Professor of Music.
Musician Sufjan Stevens wrote a song titled "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" on his album Seven Swans; it is told from the viewpoint of the Misfit even though he is not the focus of the story.
- Fitzgerald, Sally (1979). Flannery O'Connor: The Habit of Being. Vintage. pp. 191, 205.
- "Black Hearts Bleed Red (1993)". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- Full text of the titular story from the collection.
- Full text of "The Life You Save May Be Your Own."
- A Good Man is Hard to Find from Google Books