In "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," why does the grandmother say the Misfit is one of her children when she only has one son?

In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”, the grandmother says that the Misfit is one of her children even though she only has one son because she's trying to appeal to his better nature, while also seeing him for the first time as a fellow human being. Unfortunately for the grandmother, this attempt produces the opposite effect, as she discovers when he kills her.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Throughout the story, the grandmother has made it clear that she is the type to judge other people quite freely. She feels that she, unlike so many others around her, is a lady, and she laments the changing times that have resulted in people becoming less trustworthy and dignified. It is telling, I think, that she never acknowledges her daughter-in-law by name, and the younger woman is only identified as the children's mother who wears slacks, as though wearing pants rather than a skirt is an egregious enough error in propriety as to stamp out all other aspects of the woman's identity.

When she initially comes into contact with the Misfit, the grandmother repeatedly insists that he is "a good man" and that he does not look like he has "common blood"; she says that she knows he comes "from nice people." It becomes clear that he realizes what her values are, that she is precisely the kind of person who would put him in jail for a crime he didn't commit, scapegoating him for society's ills...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1084 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on October 29, 2020