The Misfit and the "Miss-Fit"

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Lewis, Anthony
Dr. Sherry Forkum
English 1A, Midterm
13 March 2013
The Misfit and the “Miss-Fit”
Flannery O’Connor is an author who has written a score of short stories; however the author is remembered for one story in particular. The story revolved around a family that had problems just like any other normal family. This family’s problem was respecting each other and communication. The Family is taking a vacation to Florida when a longing for a stroll down memory lane hits the grandmother, who wants to see a house she had been to before. As the family approaches its destination, an accident takes place that leaves the family stranded on a dirt road where they meet the Misfit, an escaped convict from prison. The misfit would have helped the family out in getting the car working again, but the grandmother had to say "You're The Misfit!...I recognized you at once!(O’Connor, Flannery ¶81)", getting the whole family massacred because the Misfit could not have any witnesses able to report a location of his whereabouts. Although this story sounds straightforward, there are some ironic twists discovering who the real Misfit of this story is for example. In O’Connor’s short story, A Good Man is Hard to Find, O’Connor writes to depict the true “miss-fit” in the story to be the grandmother.

Red Sammy and his wife were symbolic of the best of mankind. The couple was the epitome of what normal citizens would call good-natured people. Red Sammy gave assistance to a couple of gentlemen that needed gas. When the guys told Sammy a bit about themselves, Sammy gave them a helping hand, and generously offered to give them gas on credit. The gentlemen stiffed Sammy the money they owed him and gave indecency in return. “The grand-mother, Red Sammy, and his wife discuss the evil nature of the times and decide that, although they themselves may be good people, ‘a good man is hard to find.’("O'Connor's Short Stories: Summary and Analysis: "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"" ¶12)” On top of being a very generous man, Sammy also symbolized a sort of warning for the family. “I felt 'Red Sammy' represented a type of prophet in the story, speaking to the Grandmother directly about how trust was becoming dissolute …. He was the family's 'red flag (Lucy Tonic ¶ 12)”. All the talk of dishonest people is extremely ironic since the family gets into an accident and find out that help was found in none other than the Misfit and a couple of other convicts.

In A Good Man is Hard to find, Bailey and his wife were not the two most powerful people in this story, they are very easy to manipulate and they let people walk all over them. They did not even have a large role to play in the story. Their characters were put in the story to build suspense during the conversation between the Misfit and the grandmother. This build up let the readers feel like the grandmother may have a chance to be spared. "It's not far from here, I know," the grandmother said. "It wouldn't take over twenty minutes." Bailey was looking straight ahead. His jaw was as rigid as a horseshoe. "No," he said (O’Connor, Flannery ¶48-49). This man is letting his kids behave like little brats allowing them to scream and yell for far too long before he whips the car to the side of the road to yell at the kids to shut up. Although the parents may have been incompetent in raising their children they, like their infant child, should not have had to suffer their fate.

The children in the story, although obnoxious and completely disrespectful to all the characters, also play a role that is inherent behavior to most kids. Kids have mostly acted with bad manners and disrespect in the past because the lesson has not been learned that respect is essential to living in society. It is the responsibility of the parents to teach the meaning of respect and general manners to children. June Star, the daughter of Bailey and the mother, is a downright disrespectful little brat that needs to be taught...
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