You are sitting in your living room at home watching the nightly news. The lead story for the night is about a family of four that were murdered. After seeing and hearing about something like that we often ask ourselves, What could possess a person enough to kill another human being? What is it that drives a person to kill? Will we ever know? Many authors use this unique mentality in short stories. They write about what the killer thinks and how he/she acts on his/her thoughts. One of these stories is “A Good Man Is Hard To Find Essay”, by Flannery O’Connor.Order now
In this story O’Connor’s victim, The Misfit, is an escaped convict. He was in the Federal Penitentiary for killing his father. Throughout the story O’Connor builds up this killers mentality through his words and body language. Like many other murderers, The Misfit could not distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality.
When The Misfit first comes in contact with the family he immediately becomes nervous. He looks at the grandmother and says, “Would you mind calling them children to sit down by you? Children make me nervous” (O’Connor 687).
The Misfit shows that he is obviously not comfortable being with or around children. The Misfit continues to watch all of the family members, like a hawk eyeing up his prey. The reality of the situation is that the children are very scared of The Misfit, and in no physical way could they harm him. The Misfit’s fantasy or conscience tells him that the children will do something wrong if he doesn’t watch them carefully. His thoughts of fantasy take over and the children huddle around their grandmother, shaking with fear.
Just moments after his first interaction with the family, the grandmother said something that The Misfit did not like.
She recognized his face and said, “You’re The Misfit! I recognized you at once!” (O’Connor 687). The Misfit then replied, “Yes’m, but it would have been better for all of you lady, if you hadn’t of recognized me” (O’Connor 687). The grandmother had clearly identified him as a fugitive from the law. Since The Misfit recently escaped from jail, he didn’t want anyone to know his true identity. Since the grandmother and the rest of the family knew who this mystery man was, The Misfit immediately considered all of them to be a threat. He makes this assumption without considering the slightest possibility that the family might not turn him in.
Once again his fantasy state-of-mind takes over. The thrill of the fantasy for the killer was having enemies, and that’s the only way The Misfit looked at the situation.
Moments later The Misfit releases some of his stress when he tells two of his companions to bring two of the children back into the woods. The grandmother hears gunfire and shivers in pain, not knowing the two children were just killed. She then begins to ask The Misfit about his life, “I just know you’re a good man,” the woman said (O’Connor 688). The Misfit slowly began to tell the woman about his parents and his childhood.
He explained how his father looked down upon him; “you’re a different breed of dog,” he once said (O’Connor 688). The grandmother waits with anticipation as The Misfit tells her about his life. After hearing about his hardships and misfortunes, tells The Misfit to pray for help. He listens to her and shows no response. The Misfit did not know what he was punished for: “somewheres along the line I done something wrong and I got sent to the penitentiaryI forget what I done lady. I set there trying to remember what it was I done and I ain’t recalled it to this day!” (O’Connor 689).
This statement by The Misfit supports the case that he is a very confused man. Could a mental defect be the cause behind his actions and not remembering his past? The Misfit then explained that a psychiatrist at the penitentiary said that he killed his father, “but I known that for a lie” he states (O’Connor 690). He steadily denies the fact that he killed his father. He feels no guilt .