John Wesley and June Star The children, both of them little smart-asses. That's as hard to say as a good man is to find—it really depends on your worldview and the strength of your stomach. At the beginning of the story, The Misfit starts out as an abstraction for the grandmother. The grandmother tells June Star that she should be ashamed of herself, talking like that. Nevertheless, the next morning she's first in the car, stowing her cat in the backseat despite knowing how angry it will make Bailey. She is smartly dressed so they know she is a lady if there is an accident and she dies and has her cat hidden in a basket at her feet, so Bailey won't see--he won't like her bringing the cat.
Her husband tells her to shush and the old lady says that Europe is to blame for all the problems nowadays--the way they act over there. She wrote: The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism. The grandmother says that he might find one in Bailey's suitcase, and he says he'll look, but doesn't move. The old woman warns Bailey about the danger they could face after reading the newspaper. The Misfit says it's a beautiful day, and Bailey decides he's going to take over and tells everybody to hush up. I ain't a good man.
It's just a great read, with a strange but effective mix of foreboding, page-turning suspense and laugh-out-loud humor. The grandmother's vanity and self-centered attitude are made apparent in the first three lines of the story. When June Star suggests that she would not marry a man who brought her only watermelons, the grandmother responds by replying that Mr. There is a dark woods nearby, and they are below the road. The children point out that the child was wearing no pants--the grandmother says he probably doesn't have any, being that he is poor and doesn't have lots of things like they do. Even then, it has to be her own death, since she seemed unconcerned with those of the rest of her family, all of which she could've prevented if she'd only owned-up to her own shortcomings.
After a while, the grandmother thinks she remembers a plantation she once visited in this area. Not of anything people have, but of what they get away with. It is not until after the accident that any part of Bailey's costume is described. Being cooped up in the car together brings out everyone's worst qualities: the children are annoying and entitled, the grandma is wistfully nostalgic and racist, and the dad is a grouch. Why does she tell The Misfit that he's a good man? Bailey threatens to turn around if the house doesn't show up soon. When they talk about The Misfit, she exclaims that he would come right here, she wouldn't be surprised at all. The grandmother tells him that he wouldn't dare shoot a lady, and also tells him that he must come from good people--she can tell.
He rejects their hypocrisy by dismissing that which they hold to be of little worth a spiritual view of life and concentrates on the gratification of the passions. The next morning she is first in the car. The Grandmother and Red Sam Butts may cling to a conventional view of an objective morality, but the Misfit simply does not. It is as if she cannot even acknowledge that a different kind of morality, or absence of morality, exists in the world. She is not very aware. And, even with a gun practically in her face, she yearns for and insists upon the existence of good, old-fashioned morals and respect.
Her second published work, the collection established Flannery O'Connor as a major voice in American literature, and particularly Southern literature, until her early death at the age of 39 in 1964. As they drive down a rough dirt road, the grandmother suddenly realizes that the house she is remembering is in Tennessee, not Georgia. Or, on the contrary, does the diabolical Misfit function, paradoxically, as an agent of grace? Red Sammy comes in and talks to them--after he tells his wife to hustle with their food--and he and the grandmother have a discussion about how folks are different now and how a good man is hard to find. Then of course there are other less philosophical — but still good — reasons to read the story. Does it have a message? Jim Crow laws meant that black Americans, although no longer enslaved, still lived under constant oppression and had few rights and freedoms of their own. He thrown everything off balance. He not only disobeys conventional morals, but views himself as completely outside of them.
The Misfit An escaped convict who looks 'educated,' and apparently killed his own father. But this isn't even the worst of what she does on the trip, nor is she the only one to mess up along the way. Does it have as clear of a structure? Can it only be understood religiously, as O'Connor would argue? Georgia, where O'Connor lived and set the story, was filled with racial tension. Having a good upbringing, or good blood? Is a good man or woman hard to find? The grandmother recognizes him and says so. A car slowly approaches them, and the Misfit and two young men get out. Outcome The entire family is shot and killed, the grandmother last. Would he have done it anyway if he hadn't shot her first? The children say Georgia is ugly, and she tells them they should be proud of their native state--children were more respectful in her time.
O'Connor could hardly have selected a better symbol to epitomize the group of people gathered at The Tower than this monkey, sitting in a Chinaberry tree biting fleas between its teeth, a totally self-centered animal. Major Themes, Historical Perspectives, and Personal IssuesOne important context that I need to provide for my students is background on O'Connor's Christianity. He is gray-haired, smart--and chillingly exact. We are here to help you as fast as we possibly can. Then the grandmother suddenly remembers: that house was in Tennessee. The story, which emphasizes the grandmother's failure to marry a man named Teagarden, who each Saturday afternoon brought her a watermelon, reveals both her and June Star's concern for material well being. Bailey's wife also ignores the plea, but the non-vocal disrespect of the parents finds voice through the children.
She is holding the baby. The grandmother warns her son not to drive too fast, and she points out the sights to everyone--it's a pretty day. The old woman tells a story about one of her suitors, long ago, who used to bring her a watermelon every Saturday--and he became a rich man. When they talk about The Misfit, she exclaims that he would come right here, she wouldn't be surprised at all. How, if at all, does she affect him? Critics disagree on the meaning of those lines, but they could possibly indicate that the grandmother finally recognizes the connectedness among human beings. June Star is disappointed that no one was killed.