Examples Of Misfit In A Good Man Is Hard To Find

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In Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” the Misfit’s characteristics are often opposites of each other or contradictory to each other. For example, at times he is gentle, while at other times in the story, his words and actions are harsh. Some of the statements he makes and actions he takes show him to be intelligent, but others also show him to be clueless and out of touch with reality. Similarly, he treats the family in the story with respect, yet in no way values their lives. In the story, The Misfit’s actions and words show him to be both gentle and harsh. He is gentle with the grandmother, saying “Lady, don’t you get upset” (147) when her son curses her for letting The Misfit know she recognizes him as a wanted murderer. He even “reddened,” embarrassed for her at Bailey’s curse. The Misfit is again gentle when he speaks of his own mother (147), and when he twice asks the family to step into the woods with his men (148, 151).
In another character, that gentleness might indicate a gentle spirit, but his gentleness goes hand in hand with how harsh he is. When the Misfit tells the grandmother not to be upset at what Bailey said, it is just after implying that he will have to kill her for recognizing him. When he gently asks the family to step into the woods, he is sending them to their deaths. Despite his gentleness with the grandmother, he shoots her himself – three times - when she touches him. The story describes his response to her touch as
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