What is an explanation of the Misfit's statements that Jesus "'thown[ [sic] everything off balance' and "She would of been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of...

What is an explanation of the Misfit's statements that Jesus "'thown[ [sic] everything off balance' and "She would of been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life" in"A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The malevolent Misfit says that he calls himself by this epithet because he cannot "make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment"; for, as his father remarked, the Misfit has lived his life "asking about it." He tries to logically understand the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, and His rising from the dead, but he cannot make sense of these acts. This is why he says that Jesus "thown everything off balance" by "raising the dead". The Misfit lacks faith; he wants empirical proof and consistent actions; he is spiritually blind.

"if I had of been there I would of known and I wouldn't be like I am now." His voice seemed to crack.

However, the Misfit does seem to understand that he is the agent of grace for the grandmother because he says, "She would of been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life" because the grandmother receives grace with violence. When she looks at the Misfit after his voice cracks, she has an epiphany, a moment of clarity, as she recognizes that like the Misfit, she, too, is a sinner.

"Why, you're one of my babies. You're one of my own children!" She reached out and touched him on the shoulder.

In her moment of clarity in which she realizes that she is a sinner like the Misfit, the grandmother receives grace and is saved because she has had faith, having called upon Jesus earlier. The Misfit recognizes her grace in the violence of her martyrdom and remarks, 

"She would of been a good woman, ...if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

Thus, in O'Connor's story, God's grace is a force outside the character, something undeserved that comes during an insight or an instant of epiphany. Unfortunately, O'Connor's characters often miss moments to make some connection with faith, and their lack of faith prevents them from understanding and receiving grace.

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