Why does the grandmother in the story tell The Misfit that he is a good man? Is there any sense in which he is a good man?

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podunc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In an attempt to save her life, the grandmother pays The Misfit the highest compliments she can think of. Since she is a woman who embodies old southern values and prejudices it makes sense that she would tell him that he is a "good man" and "not a bit common."

The grandmother, however, begins to change as she gets more desperate. She begins to call out to Jesus in earnest, though it sounds "as if she might be cursing." Finally, when The Misfit looks like he might cry, the "grandmother's head clear[s] for an instant and she says, "Why you're one of my babies. You're one of my own children!" and reaches out to touch him. At that instant he shoots her dead.

Though The Misfit is clearly evil, he does bring about a positive change in the grandmother before he dies. The shock and fear she feels makes her forget her snobbishness and look at him with compassion. For a moment, she sees The Misfit as Jesus himself would have.

The Misfit recognizes that the crisis brought out the best in the old woman. He acknowledges that "She would of been a good woman . . . if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

friday1234567890 | Student

she wants to live

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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