The theme of hypocrisy in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is mostly represented by the grandmother’s character.
In fact, the grandmother displays hypocrisy throughout the entire story; it is not until right before she dies that she starts living a sincere life. The grandmother is presented to us as a tasteful old woman who wishes for better times. She is always telling stories about the good ole days saying, “In my time..
.children were more respectful…people did it right back then” (1043). However, as the storyline develops, she becomes progressively more manipulative.
This becomes strikingly evident when she lies to her son and grandchildren about secret panels in the old mansion to further her own desires; another instance where this occurs is when she neglects to tell her son that the house is actually in Tennessee. She figured nothing bad could come out of a detour, until they crashed into a tree and were found by the Misfit. Lying challenges all her supposed integrity and class, but the grandmother’s hypocrisy is best displayed in her final moments with the Misfit. While the Misfit describes his hypothetical misfortune, the grandmother begs, “Pray, pray, pray”(1050) and “If you would pray..
.Jesus would help you” (1051). In this moment, the grandmother adheres to her faith and seems sincere. However, she proves her hypocrisy when she questions her faith just a few moments after. Mumbling under her breath, she says, “Maybe He didn’t raise the dead,” (1052) however, this was only to please the Misfit and increase her odds of survival. The grandmother is no longer the ethical, classy woman from the beginning of the story, but she is now an egotistical, immoral, and manipulative person. The Misfit picks up on her change of demeanor immediately and concludes that she would only have been a good woman if “Somebody was there to shoot her every minute of her life” (1053).
Only then would she have been a sincere woman, with a gun to her head. The grandmother’s character represents the hypocrisy in the story; along with the Misfit’s comment about the grandmother not being sincere, I think this story was trying to portray the message that one should start living a sincere and genuine life way before death.