Tuesday, April 27, 2021

O'Connor's The Misfit

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On countless occasions we have seen that the key to a well-written story is the presentation of a nicely conceived character who is not necessarily the protagonist. The dialogues and actions in which this person is involved and the way he is first described by the author, are essential to the development of the story. In Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man Is Hard to Find, The Misfita criminal escaped from a federal prisonis the perfect example of this type of character. It is quite clear that for us to have a good understanding of this narrative we must investigate deeply into this man's role. The Misfit's way of talking about life, his cold blooded actions, and the authority he shows upon the other two vandals, are traits that certainly make him a very interesting and profound character.

Being as intelligent as he seems to be by the earliest description O'Connor gave us, The Misfit talks in a peculiar way about what caused him to become a murderer. When referring to the time he got sent to jail he says "somewheres along the line I done something wrong (…) I was buried alive" (06); there is an obvious manifestation in this last statement that he feels betrayed and rejected by the society, because he actually didn't kill his father. The things he says about his parents are in contradiction with the fact that he is a killer "God never made a finer woman than my mother and my daddy's heart was pure gold" (05). How could it be that a man can speak in such a beautiful way about his mother and father, and at the same time be capable of killing a human being?

A second aspect that can be talked about in order to support the idea of The Misfit being remarkable is his cold blooded actions. As O'Connor herself tell us in her essay "… a prophet gone wrong is almost always more interesting than your grandmother" (5), in reference to The Misfit. The moment he kills the Grandmother at the very end, shooting at her chest three times, proves his cold-bloodedness because right after committing the homicide he starts cleaning his glasses. However, we can recall an earlier instant in which he asks both of the present women to excuse him for being in front of them with no shirt. This variety of behavior makes him interesting.

One more quality that is special about him is his authority over all other characters in this story. If we consider from the moment when The Misfit is first presented to the reader until the end, we can easily see that he is the one in charge of the entire situation. Krawiec writes in his essay that "While he was having the other members of the family killed, the Misfit engages in a highly religious dialogue with the grandmother where he explains his feelings on Christianity"; in other words, he manages the other two guys in the execution of Bailey, his wife, and the children, while he is just talking to the Grandmother he has everybody on his hands.

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To conclude, The Misfit's characteristics such as his way of talking, his cold blooded actions, and the authority he exerts on the rest of the characters in the story, make him a highly interesting character. O'Connor is an incredibly excellent writer, but if it were not by her conception of The Misfit, she couldn't have written a story as good as this one in so few pages. What she actually intended to do in my opinion was criticize the society that we live in, and The Misfit was one of the tools that she used to get this message transmitted.

Works Cited

Krawiec, Marc. "What is 'Gothic'?" Gothic Essays. 5 March 00. http//www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~mkrawiec/essay.html

O'Connor, Flannery. "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." Literature for Composition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet et al. 6th ed. New York Longman, 00, 7-08.

O'Connor, Flannery. "A Reasonable Use of the Unreasonable." Literature for Composition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet et al. 6th ed. New York Longman, 00, 4-7.

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