dotted outline of a black cat sitting within a basket in front of an older woman wearing a sundress

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

by Flannery O’Connor

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Where does the Grandmother learn the story of the Misfit?

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In the newspaper called the Journal, the Grandmother reads about the Misfit having escaped from the federal penitentiary; in fact, he is supposedly headed to Florida where Bailey, her son, has planned to take his family on vacation. Ironically, however, in her selfish desire to see a house, the grandmother sends Bailey and his family right on the road headed toward this Misfit and his friends. For, when her cat Pitty Sing leaps onto Bailey he loses control of the car on this dirt road and they have an accident.

It is, thus, on this unlikely dirt road that the Grandmother learns the story of the Misfit. From the top of the hill, the men see the Grandmother's wild gesticulations and head down the hill in "a big black battered hearse-like automobile" and this death car moves towards her and her family. Rashly, the Grandmother acknowledges her recognition of the escaped criminal; consequently, the Misfit finds it necessary to him to kill her family and her.  But, before he kills her there, the Misfit tells her his life story:

"My daddy said I was a different breed of dog from my brothers and sisters...."You know,' Daddy said, 'it's some that can live their whole life out without asking about it and it's others has to know why it is, and this boy is one of the latters. he's going to be into everything!'...

Jesus thrown everything off balance....I call myself The Misfit...because I can't make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment. No pleasure but meanness."

It is on this dirt road, also, that the Grandmother receives grace from the Misfit's act of violence after she tells him he is "one of my own children!"

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