A Good Man Is Hard To Find

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You are sitting in your living room at home watching the nightly news. The lead story for the night is about a family of four that were murdered. After seeing and hearing about something like that we often ask ourselves, What could possess a person enough to kill another human being? What is it that drives a person to kill? Will we ever know? Many authors use this unique mentality in short stories. They write about what the killer thinks and how he/she acts on his/her thoughts. One of these stories is “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”, by Flannery O’Connor. In this story O’Connor’s victim, The Misfit, is an escaped convict. He was in the Federal Penitentiary for killing his father. Throughout the story O’Connor builds up this killers mentality through his words and body language. Like many other murderers, The Misfit could not distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality.
When The Misfit first comes in contact with the family he immediately becomes nervous. He looks at the grandmother and says, “Would you mind calling them children to sit down by you? Children make me nervous” (O’Connor 687). The Misfit shows that he is obviously not comfortable being with or around children. The Misfit continues to watch all of the family members, like a hawk eyeing up his prey. The reality of the situation is that the children are very scared of The Misfit, and in no physical way could they harm him. The Misfit’s fantasy or conscience tells him that the children will do something wrong if he doesn’t watch them carefully. His thoughts of fantasy take over and the children huddle around their grandmother, shaking with fear.
Just moments after his first interaction with the family, the grandmother said something that The Misfit did not like. She recognized his face and said, “You’re The Misfit! I recognized you at once!” (O’Connor 687). The Misfit then replied, “Yes’m, … but it would have been better for all of you lady, if you hadn’t of recognized me” (O’Connor 687). The grandmother had clearly identified him as a fugitive from the law. Since The Misfit recently escaped from jail, he didn’t want anyone to know his true identity. Since the grandmother and the rest of the family knew who this mystery man was, The Misfit immediately considered all of them to be a threat. He makes this assumption without conside...

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...instantly. This was an innocent family murdered by a psychopath on the prowl, adding more to his death toll.
All of the quotations provide evidence showing that The Misfit is a very confused and disturbed individual. The majority of his thoughts are based on a fantasy point of view. He overlooks the reality of situations and because of these thoughts he becomes a threat to society. This fantasy life makes The Misfit stressed, angry and very agitated. All of these violent emotions contribute to The Misfits killer mentality and his lack of mercy. He could not remember or understand why he was sent to the penitentiary.
O’Connor does a great job in developing The Misfit character. She adds interesting statements about The Misfit throughout the story, slowly revealing the killer’s personality. Picturing this killer can be stretched out by the human imagination. Does The Misfit look like a killer? Does he appear to be like a normal human being? These are a few questions we ask ourselves. We may never know why killers exist, or why they do what they do, but we do know that the mind of a killer is a mind we will never figure out.
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