I think the line has to be drawn, in my opinion, between everything that happens before the killings and everything that begins with the first murder. The banter and chaos that pervades much of the first part of the story (which is quite comical in places) ends for me as soon as it is evident that the Misfit and his sidekicks are going to murder the entire family. As a mother myself (two boys ages 7 and 5), the fact that the Misfit murders 3 innocent children (including a baby!) is horribly cruel and absolutely shocking. I'll never forget reading this story for the first time when I was in college. Even though I didn't have children then, it was still horrifying to me; it is even more so now after becoming a mother.