A Good Man Is Hard to Find Questions and Answers
by Flannery O’Connor

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How does the Misfit connect to a theme in this story? Does O'Connor use any literary devices to get this point across?

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The Misfit chose his own name to represent the fact that his punishment did not fit his crime, as he did not actually commit any crime in order to get sent to prison. He was accused of murdering his father, he says, but he knows that this isn't true because he remembers that his father died in 1919 of the flu epidemic. Despite the fact that he had committed no crime, "They had the papers on me," he says. He understands that he is the victim of a corrupt system, and that he has been wronged by people like the grandmother, with her prejudices against people who don't have "good blood." His punishment, then, is a mis-fit because he did not a crime to merit it; however, a misfit is also a person who simply doesn't fit in, who isn't well adapted to a particular situation or environment, just as the Misfit is not well adapted to fit into the grandmother's idea of who is "good" and who is not. He wasn't a bad person, but he was treated as one simply because of his evidently low status in society. His moniker, then, is a pun: the use of a word with two different meanings where both apply. It is ironic, too, that the grandmother has an epiphany about this man, that had he been raised differently he could have been like one of her own children. His mis-fit and her revelation convey the theme that we are all more alike than we are different, despite how different we might seem to one another.

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