What does the Misfit mean when he says this quote in "A Good Man is Hard to Find"?"She would have been a good woman...if there had been someone there to shoot her everyday of her...

What does the Misfit mean when he says this quote in "A Good Man is Hard to Find"?

"She would have been a good woman...if there had been someone there to shoot her everyday of her life."

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Misfit is talking about the grandmother, who finally experiences transcendence in the moment before her death.  Until then, she had led a life not overly exemplified by virtue.  It is only when threatened with the reality of death that she finds the depth of true goodness within herself.

The Grandmother is arrogant and self-centered.  Her insistence that the family take a detour so that she can visit a house from her childhood leads to the circumstances that result in their deaths.  The Grandmother is inordinately critical of her daughter-in-law while doting on her son, and she reveals a superior moral attitude and a racist orientation, rudely calling a poor black child a "pickaninny".  When she realizes that her family has been killed and that her life too is in iminent danger, she at first tries to save herself by using shameless flattery on the Misfit.

It is only at the moment of her death that the Grandmother receives a revelation.  She looks at her soon-to-be murderer and says, "Why you're one of my babies.  You're one of my own children", reaching out to touch him gently on the shoulder.  The Grandmother has humbly come to the realization of her place and the place of every other person in the realm of humanity, and it has taken the threat of imminent destruction to bring her to this awakening.  Ironically, if she had had someone to threaten "to shoot her everyday", she might have lived a better life.

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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