Good Against Evil Good Man is Hard to Find
The definition of the word good is something that is morally right. The story of a family on a road trip to Florida, begins with an unnamed grandmother, whose hesitant demeanor, goes unnoticed as they move forward with the getaway. Ironically, a misfit on the loose around their destination, crosses paths with them, ending their trip in tragedy.
During her final living moments, the grandmother pleads to the misfit that he is a good man. However, her efforts dont save her from the misfitr’s malicious actions, killing her without uncertainty. In OConnorr’s, A Good Man is Hard to Find, the theme of good vs. evil is explored between the characters of the misfit and the grandmother.
The grandmother figure in the short story has a rather aggressive beginning in the first paragraphs. The road trip the family is about to embark on isnt ideal for her, especially with the misfit around the area. However, her character is beginning to show throughout the trip. When the children were commenting on how Tennessee appears to be a dumping ground her response demonstrates how much she values respect when arguing back, In my time, children were more respectful of their native states and their parents and everything else (243). Further along their trip, she seems to correct the childrenr’s behavior constantly, as they spew out insulting comments in the car, and at their next stop at a barbecue joint owned by Red Sammy. However, she engages in conversation with the owner, and expresses her idea of what a good man means to her.
To her, the definition of a good man, is virtually someone who has a moral and respectful mindset, in response to Red Sammyr’s actions, Two fellers come in here last week, driving a Chrysler right to me. It was a old beat-up car but it was a good one and these boys looked right to me. Saif they worked at the mill and you know I let them fellers charge the gas they bought? Now, why did I do that? (OConnor 245). His generosity and kindness falls into the description of a morally good man. However, she does judge his character rather fast, not knowing if her’s done anything morally wrong in his life. It doesnt seem like she gets to know whoever she calls good well enough before describing them this way. Once meeting the misfit, the word is thrown to characterize him quickly from grandmother as well.
The first mentioning of the misfit didnt give any specific details, only that he escaped prison and was heading towards Florida. Obviously, the grandmother was concerned about heading in that direction with the family, yet they didnt believe there was a slight chance of crossing paths. The misfit carried along their trip, as conversion with Red Sammy progressed on the state of the world. Crimes that he committed in the past, werent discussed between the grandmother, and his mentioning was just used to make conversation. The indication of his history is given when speaking to grandmother. He describes his parental figures, saying Daddy was a card himself. You couldnt put anything over on him. He never got in trouble with the Authorities though. Just had a knack of handling them (OConnor 250). There is an evidently history of crime in his family, having followed in his fatherr’s footsteps. An assumption can be made that the misfit grew up morally corrupt in knowing his fatherr’s criminal actions. A close relationship between the two is clear since the misfit also is described by his father as a different breed of dog, predicting his son would eventually follow his path. The misfit is lead into a life of evil, hateful crime which is especially shown in the climax of the story.
The confrontation between the two characters reveals a complexing analysis of their ideals and beliefs. The misfit has ironically crossed paths with the family, and the interaction with the grandmother was bound to end terribly. Suddenly, since the grandmother senses her fate, her definition of a good man appears to apply to the misfit now. Once she realizes his identity, she reasons with him, crying out, I know youre a good man. You dont look a bit like you have common blood. I know you must come from nice people! (OConnor 249). The misfit is the polar opposite of her previous definition, representing the pure evil due to his criminal actions in his life. Her use of wording when expressing he doesnt have common blood is indication of how sher’s trying to reason with his actions. Now, a good man comes essentially comes from a person with a lifeline of goodness in their genes.
The heavy use of religion shows how evil the misfit actually is. The grandmotherr’s religious background presents itself, as she tries to convince the misfit, prayer is the answer to his troubles. Yet, the misfit doesnt believe prayer will get him anywhere or fix his past criminal record. His revelation of why he doesnt want to be saved by God points out the true evil his character represents. The reasoning behind his lack of religious belief is announced when he argues, I found out the crime dont matter. You can do one thing or you can do another, kill a man or take a tire off his car, because sooner or later youre going to forget what it was you done and just be punished for it (251). At this point, the misfit has no sense on whatr’s right and wrong. He acts on his evil actions of killing, not having enough motive to stop his criminal acts. There is no guilty feeling when pulling the trigger,
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