What is the significance of the discussion of Jesus in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"?
The discussion of Jesus is significant for a few reasons. First, after praying aloud that Jesus keep the Misfit from shooting a lady, the Misfit's response that only Jesus raises people from the dead, and that he shouldn't have done that, seems to indicate that in the Misfit's head, the Grandmother, like the rest of her family, was already dead. Her prayer isn't going to change his decision to shoot her. Going beyond the surface value of the conversation, it also gives insight into the religious philosophies of O'Connor. The Misfit says that if Jesus had really raised himself from the dead, then people would have to live differently. They would be accountable and have purpose. If he didn't raise from the dead, then there is nothing. The Misfit goes on to say that he wished he knew for certain, because it would have made his life different, better, if he knew for sure that Jesus rose from the dead. This conversation reveals the need for purpose and direction in life, which comes from one's beliefs. It also shows society's turn from religion to self-fulfillment, which doesn't seem to be working for the Misfit. The conversation emphasizes that the Misfit could've been different if he were reached earlier, but that it is now too late.