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9 of the Most Disturbing Short Stories You'll Ever Have to Read for School

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"A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O’Connor

In Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” a family goes on a road trip, gets into an accident, and has to flag down a passing car for help. Unfortunately, the passing car turns out to be a notorious criminal called the Misfit. He has his henchmen shoot the father and son, then the mother, daughter, and baby. The grandmother is all that’s left, so she uses this opportunity to talk to the Misfit about Jesus. Mistaking his chattiness for vulnerability, she puts her hand on his shoulder. He responds to this by shooting her three times, and says, “She would of been a good woman...if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

It’s a wonderful, fascinating, extremely confusing story, and no one can agree on what it all means. Except for me. I know the lesson. The lesson is this: never take your family on a road trip where everyone is cooped up in a car for multiple hours, because just look at what might happen!

Topics: Books
Tags: high school, books we love, classic literature, short stories, short stories we love, warning: very spooky

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