"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" as written by and Sufjan Stevens....
Once in the backyard,
she was once like me,
she was once like me.
Twice when I killed them,
they were once at peace,
they were once like me.

Hold to your gun, man,
and put off all your peace,
put off all the beast.
Paid a full of these, I wait for it,
but someone's once like me.
She was once like me.

I once was better.
I put off all my grief.
I put off all my grief.
So I go to hell, I wait for it,
but someone's left me creased.
Someone's left me creased.

Lyrics submitted by EvilPopkin

"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" as written by Sufjan Stevens

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentWhat I think about the story and song....

    The grandmother's character is the embodiment of complacent, comfortable, luke-warm Christianity. Notice how until it's end, everything in the grandmother's world is perfectly cliche. O'Connor makes it clear, though, that she undergoes a a radical transformation moments before her death, when she offers grace to The Misfit, reaching out and calling him her own child. Among other things she dies in a position of oneness with God, in the position of Christ on his cross or the Budha in meditation, "smiling up at the cloudless sky." His immediate response is to shoot, but the story's end shows the beginning of his own transformation- tears show a new e-motion, a motion out of himself. Since the grandmother is not a "good" character the reader is forced to offer her grace as well, in order to stay within the story's premises.

    I think that the song is from the Misfit's perspective, perhaps at the moment after he kills the grandmother. The peace and putting off of grief he speaks of is not authentic peace in Christ, but the "peace" that comes from have a dead spirit, a spirit that is detached from its humanity and all it entails (conscience, vulnerability, etc). Detachment and alienation are the major themes of American modernism, the movement O'Connor was at the end of. The grandmother was once at peace in that way too. Although the two characters are opposites in terms of authenticity and fakeness, she was once like him in that her spirit was also narrowed and deadened before her transformation. In The grace that she offers him and the resulting moving out of himself (his glasses were damp with tears) make him vulnerable, the very thing he has avoided, and that is to be "creased," emotionally, intellectually, and ultimatly spiritually.
    jkleinon February 25, 2006   Link

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