What is the climax of the story "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"?

3 Answers

teachersage's profile pic

teachersage | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The climax is the highest point of tension in a story when everything hangs in the balance, but the resolution has not yet come. In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," the climax comes when the Misfit, his gang having taken away the grandmother's son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, has a conversation with her in a ditch. She is terrified, realizing, as she hears gun shots and screams from the woods that the gang is killing her family. She knows that the Misfit probably plans to murder her. She keeps talking, hoping that she can somehow wiggle out of the situation. She appeals to Misfit on the basis of being a lady, suggesting to him to it would be inappropriate for a "good man" like him to kill a person like her. She also offers him money. When that doesn't work, she appeals to him through religion, telling him he should pray to Jesus. Finally, in a moment of grace, she sees him as her own son:

... the grandmother's head cleared for an instant. She saw the man's face twisted close to her own as if he were going to cry and she murmured, "Why you're one of my babies. You're one of my own children!" She reached out and touched him on the shoulder. 

That is the climax of the story. Right after that, the Misfit springs back and shoots her three times. She dies, sending the story to its resolution. 

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The climax, or the highest point of action, comes when Bailey, the grandmother's son, wrecks the car.  At the grandmother's urging, and despite Bailey's reluctance, Bailey turns the car around to go visit an old plantation home which his mother says will be educational for them (and the children want to see because of a promised "secret panel"). 

However, when miles pass and the grandmother begins to doubt her memory of the location, she becomes agitated and accidentally sets off a series of mishaps:  her jerking bumps a valise (a suitcase) which upset the cat, Pitty-Sing, who jumps on Bailey and makes him steer improperly.  The car then tumbles over and lands "in a gulch off the side of the road." 

This sets the climax into motion.  Passersby who happen to see the accident come to the scene, but not, as the grandmother expects, to their aid.  Instead, the pair are the escaped convicts the grandmother had read about and discussed with Red Sammy's wife in the barbecue stand.  The outlaws have no other intent but to rob and then kill, which leads to the startling conclusion. 

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melaniehin's profile pic

melaniehin | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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Everything that Jamie wheeler said is right except it is not a pair of people that get out of the car but The Misfit and two associates.