Hunting glitches in Flannery O'Connor's “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”
By Myles Weber
Near the end of Christopher Durang’s satirical one-act play Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You, the title character shoots dead one rebellious former student in self-defense and holds three others at gunpoint before murdering one of them (the gay one). Addressing the audience during a moment of calm between the shootings, Sister Mary Ignatius insists, “Most of my students turned out beautifully, these are the few exceptions.” She then turns to her seven-year-old stage assistant, Thomas. “But we never give up on those who’ve turned out badly, do we?” she asks in obvious bad faith. “What is the story of the Good Shepherd and the Lost Sheep?”
THOMAS: The Good Shepherd was so concerned about his Lost Sheep that He left his flock to go find the Lost Sheep, and then He found it.
SISTER: That’s right. And while he was gone, a great big wolf came and killed his
entire flock. No, just kidding. I’m feeling lightheaded from all this excitement.
Finally, Sister explicates the parable in earnest. “By the story of the Lost Sheep,” she states, “Christ tells us that when a sinner strays, we mustn’t give up on the sinner.”