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

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I'm working on an essay about why the grandmother herself is a misfit in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor.

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I can help you get started on this. The grandmother is a misfit within her family. She is a difficult person, and her family members easily become annoyed with her. Some specific details that show her misfit status are as follows:

As the story begins, we learn that the grandmother doesn't want to go on the vacation to Florida her son Bailey has planned. She wants to go visit family in Tennessee. We see the contempt in which she is held when Bailey simply ignores her arguments and then when her eight-year-old grandson, John Wesley, says to her,

If you don't want to go to Florida, why dontcha stay at home?

June Star, the granddaughter, is equally rude:

"She wouldn't stay at home to be queen for a day," June Star said without raising her yellow head.

The parents do nothing to correct the children's bad manners, suggesting that the entire family treats the grandmother as a pain in the neck: in other words, as a misfit.

When the family stops for lunch at the Tower and the grandmother asks Bailey to dance, he only "glared" at her. This indicates hostility—and he doesn't bother to even answer her. The only person who shows her sympathy is Red Sam, the Tower's owner.

The grandmother resorts to the stratagems of a misfit or despised person—deceit and manipulation—to get her way. She sneaks her cat into the car unbeknownst to Bailey, since she knows Bailey will have no sympathy with her desire to bring the cat along. She uses manipulation to get the children to whine to see the old Southern plantation down a dirt road because she knows her words have no weight with Bailey.

It could be argued that if the grandmother had been treated with more respect by her family—as less of a misfit they simply had to tolerate—the crisis could have been averted. Bailey, for example, could have been the type of person she could talk to and would have allowed her to take the cat: in that case, he wouldn't have been so surprised when it jumped on his shoulder, causing him to overturn the car.

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