[quote="David_Treadman, post:1, topic:194843"]
I started reading Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" yesterday. I was shocked by the sudden violence at the end, but I am confused as to why it's a Catholic story. What makes this story about the Catholic faith?
You've just read one of my favorite stories! Don't think about O'Connor's work as "Catholic" work. She was Catholic. She wrote about Christianity. But to categorize her work merely as "Catholic" is reductive.
That said, if you're looking for what she's saying about religion here, look at the grandmother (sorry, it's been a while since I read the story, so I don't remember specific names). Re-read the section where she mistakes the killer for her son upon noticing his shirt. And then listen to what the killer says. He says that he sees good in her in that moment, something he believes she's incapable of without a gun to her head.
It's strange, but the deranged killer offers the greatest wisdom in this story. He sees the grandmother's true nature. If you're not careful, you might read this as O'Connor criticizing Christianity, but what she's doing is criticizing Christians, something she does often in her stories. She saw so much hypocrisy in the group she belonged to, and she exposed it, repeatedly. She wanted people to hold themselves to higher standards, often to the standards with which they held others.