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A Good Man Is Hard to Find

by Flannery O’Connor

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Why does the Misfit believe Jesus "threw everything off balance" by resurrecting the dead?

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The Misfit thinks that Jesus "'thown [sic] everything off balance" because Jesus was subjected to a terrible punishment even though he hadn't done anything wrong. The Misfit tells the grandmother,

"It was the same case with Him as with me except He hadn't committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me. Of course . . . they never shown me my papers. That's why I sign myself now. I said long ago, you get you a signature and sign everything you do and keep a copy of it. Then you'll know what you done and you can hold up the crime to the punishment and see do they match and in the end you'll have something to prove you ain't been treated right. I call myself The Misfit . . . because I can't make what all I don't wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment."

The Misfit believes that one must do something really wrong in order to deserve to be punished—a reasonable belief—and he was accused of killing his father, a man who actually died of influenza. He knows he was innocent of this crime, knowledge that is confirmed for him by the inability of either the court or the police to provide him with any proof that he did it. Nonetheless, he was jailed for this crime. Just like Jesus, he was punished horribly though he had done nothing to deserve it. This is why he calls himself the Misfit: because his punishment doesn't fit his crime (or his lack of crime). Because Jesus accepted a horrible punishment, without having committed a crime, the Misfit believes Jesus upset the balance of crimes and punishments for humanity.

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