Could The Misfit in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" be intepretated as a manifestation of the Lord or Jesus himself?   

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With a belief in grace as something "devastasting to the recipient," Flannery O'Connor employs violence as a force for good. In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," the Misfit acts as the agent of grace for the grandmother, who comes face to face with violence and experiences her epiphany that she and the Misfit are both children of God when she is faced with death.  Perceiving the grandmother also as an agent for grace, Michael Clark writes in his essay, "Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find': The Moment of Grace," that the violence that the grandmother faces and is, thus, returned to reality and ready to accept their moment of grace moves her to the "laying on of hands" on the Misfit much like what is written in St. Paul's epistle in Timothy II of the Bible: 

That is why I would remind thee to fan the flame of that special grace which God kindled in thee, when my hands were laid upon thee.

For, it is when the grandmother, who transmits her grace to the Misfit by touching him on the shoulder, that the change in the Misfit himself is effected. His spiritual redemption is evident in his response to Bobby Lee, "It's no real pleasure in life." With the grandmother's grace accompanying the "charismatic physical contact," Clark writes,the Misfit, too, experiences a moment of psychological clarity that saves him; he becomes aware that crime holds no pleasure. Ironically, while he is the agent of grace for the selfish grandmother, she reciprocates and lays hands upon him, transmitting this saving grace.


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A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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