A Good Man is Hard to Find

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June Star Character Analysis

Seven-year-old June Star (John Wesley’s sister) is loudmouthed and critical. When Red Sam’s wife teasingly asks her to come live with them, June Star says that she wouldn’t live in their home in a million years. As adorable as adults seem to find her, she treats them meanly and without respect.

June Star Quotes in A Good Man is Hard to Find

The A Good Man is Hard to Find quotes below are all either spoken by June Star or refer to June Star. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Violence and Grace Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Farrar, Strauss and Giroux edition of A Good Man is Hard to Find published in 1971.
A Good Man is Hard to Find Quotes

“I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn’t answer to my conscience if I did.”

Related Characters: The Grandmother (speaker), Bailey, John Wesley, June Star
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

This quotation sets up a central contradiction in the grandmother's character. She is constantly talking about goodness and politeness and she seems beholden to proper morals, but she is actually very petty and selfish. In this statement, the grandmother appears to be proclaiming that she would never endanger her family because her conscience wouldn't be able to bear it, but in reality she is trying to manipulate her family into vacationing in Tennessee instead of Florida. This statement, then, is a selfish one in the guise of being a helpful and loving grandmother. 

This also sets up a deep irony of the plot. The grandmother will later manipulate the family into taking a detour through a back road, and on that back road they will encounter the criminal to which she refers in this quote. In this way, she has done precisely what she says at the beginning of the story that she would not be able to bear to do, and we get to see exactly how her conscience responds. 

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“You all ought to take them somewhere else for a change so they would see different parts of the world and be broad. They never have been to East Tennessee.”

Related Characters: The Grandmother (speaker), Bailey, Bailey’s Wife (the Mother), John Wesley, June Star
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

The grandmother is again using manipulation to goad the family into doing what she wants, which is to vacation in Tennessee. She frames this as being good for the children, since it would broaden their horizons and show them a new part of the country. However, this seems disingenuous since nobody, including the children, wants to go to Tennessee except her, and the narrator indicates that she is mostly just interested in visiting her "personal connections" in Tennessee. This suggests that the trip is motivated more by personal nostalgia than a real commitment to enriching the grandchildren.

The grandmother is also consumed by her belief that the goodness and propriety of society is eroding. Here she appears to appeal to that notion, stating that the grandchildren should be broadly traveled in order to be good, proper citizens. However, her self-serving motivations cast doubt on the sincerity of this seemingly deeply-held belief. 

“She wouldn’t stay home for a million bucks,” June Star said. “Afraid she’d miss something. She has to go everywhere we go.”

Related Characters: June Star (speaker), The Grandmother
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

While the grandmother's pettiness makes readers reluctant to accept her warnings about the moral decay of today's youth, the grandchildren actually do seem rude and spoiled. In this quote, June Star is openly mocking her grandmother and, in a sense, manipulating her into taking the trip that the rest of the family wants by telling her that she has no way to bargain since she would never skip a trip, no matter where they go. This also paints a picture of the grandmother as a nosy, gossipy woman who would never "miss something" even when it's something she doesn't approve of.

This quote seems to validate the grandmother's concerns about the erosion of manners and goodness, but it also paints a picture of a family with deep interpersonal problems. Nobody here is presented as being truly kind or polite; all the family members seem selfish and engaged in conflict with one another. Since the grandmother, the mother of the children's father, is the oldest member of the group, this behavior does reflect back on her in that she seems to have failed to raise respectful descendants. This allows readers to perhaps accept the grandmother's hypothesis about the erosion of politeness, but simultaneously requires readers to question where the blame for such erosion should rest. 

“Ain’t she cute?” Red Sam’s wife said, leaning over the counter. “Would you like to come be my little girl?”
“No I certainly wouldn’t,” June Star said. “I wouldn’t live in a broken-down place like this for a million bucks!”

Related Characters: June Star (speaker), Red Sam’s Wife (speaker)
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:

O'Connor has created a grandmother whose character is thoroughly revolting, but she does not present readers with a contrasting character who is moral and good. This has the disorienting effect of forcing readers to confront each character's failings rather than identifying with one who is "good" and reviling the others. This exchange further confirms that in addition to the grandmother being hypocritical and selfish, the children are likewise disrespectful and even unkind. June Star's willingness to insult a stranger who is serving her food is disturbing, particularly since the woman is actively trying to be nice to her. As the story advances, it becomes more and more clear that the family depicted is dysfunctional. It doesn't seem that anybody has been raised to be respectful and kind, and in this exchange in particular readers are forced to ask if June Star has inherited some of her grandmother's classism, as the reason she gives for not wanting to stay there is that the place is "broken-down." 

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June Star Character Timeline in A Good Man is Hard to Find

The timeline below shows where the character June Star appears in A Good Man is Hard to Find. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Good Man is Hard to Find
Familial Conflict and Familial Love Theme Icon
Moral Decay Theme Icon
...by herself if she doesn’t want to go to Florida. John Wesley and his sister June Star lie on the floor reading the funny papers. (full context)
Violence and Grace Theme Icon
Goodness Theme Icon
Familial Conflict and Familial Love Theme Icon
...leaves in the car, with the Grandmother sitting in the back with John Wesley and June Star . In the front sit Bailey, Bailey’s wife, and their baby. The grandmother records the... (full context)
Goodness Theme Icon
Familial Conflict and Familial Love Theme Icon
Moral Decay Theme Icon
...grandchildren not to talk so negatively about their home state, but both John Wesley and June Star agree that both Georgia and Tennessee are “lousy.” The Grandmother says that in her day... (full context)
Goodness Theme Icon
Familial Conflict and Familial Love Theme Icon
Moral Decay Theme Icon
...them to throw their trash out the window, though they want to. John Wesley and June Star begin to fight, and the Grandmother asks if telling them a story would stop their... (full context)
Goodness Theme Icon
Familial Conflict and Familial Love Theme Icon
Moral Decay Theme Icon
...“E. A. T.” on it and ate it. John Wesley laughs at the story, but June Star is not amused: she says that she wouldn’t have married a man just because he... (full context)
Familial Conflict and Familial Love Theme Icon
Moral Decay Theme Icon
...a secret panel somewhere in the house with silver hidden behind it. John Wesley and June Star , excited by the idea of the hidden panel, say eagerly that they want to... (full context)
Violence and Grace Theme Icon
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Familial Conflict and Familial Love Theme Icon
June Star is disappointed that nobody has been killed. The Grandmother clutches her side, lying when she... (full context)
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Familial Conflict and Familial Love Theme Icon
Moral Decay Theme Icon
...to collect and calm her children. “What are you telling US what to do for?” June Star demands. (full context)
Violence and Grace Theme Icon
Goodness Theme Icon
Punishment and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Familial Conflict and Familial Love Theme Icon
Moral Decay Theme Icon
...and Hiram into the forest and “join your husband.” Bailey’s wife says, “Yes, thank you.” June Star says that she doesn’t want to hold Bobby Lee’s hand because “he reminds me of... (full context)