-How does the Misfit define crime and punishment, goodness and evil?

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merehughes eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For the Misfit, crime and punishment are not in equal relationship to each other.  Additionally, he feels that it does not matter what you do, you will be punished at some time or another. This is what the Misfit has to say about crime, "I found out the crime don't matter. You can do one thing or you can do another, kill a man or take a tire off his car, because sooner or later you're going to forget what it was you done and just be punished for it."

The grandmother begins praying to Jesus and the Misfit comments that "Jesus thrown everything off balance."  He goes on to explain that because Jesus was punished for something he didn't do, the whole world is off balance now.  The Misfit says applying this to his own life, "I can't make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment."

Good and evil is also skewed by the Misfit's perception - he reckons that he was not a good man because they had papers on him that proved he'd committed a crime.  Ironically at the end he comments that the old lady would've been a good woman, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."  The character exposes for the reader the hypocrisy of the old lady's type of religion.  

Read the study guide:
A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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