“The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida. She wanted to visit some of her connections in east Tennessee and she was seizing at every chance to change Bailey’s mind. Bailey was the son she lived with, her only boy. He was sitting on the edge of his chair at the table, bent over the orange sports section of the Journal. “Now look here, Bailey,” she said, “see here, read this,” and she stood with one hand on her thin hip and the other rattling the newspaper at his bald head. “Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is aloose from the Federal Pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people. Just you read it. I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn’t answer to my conscience if I did.”
O’Connor writes about characters in crisis, and while she is known as a ‘Christian author’, her stories never shy away from the terrible, like the con-man in ‘Good Country People’ or the brutal death in ‘Greenleaf’. The Misfit in ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ is no exception, one of O’Connor’s best villains who’s considered evil makes this story’s final scene worth reading.
You can hear O’Connor read her own story below (thanks to Open Culture for the link):
Philosophical Fiction is part of ‘Not School’ from the Partially Examined Life, we choose a new story each month for a live conversation on the truth in fiction. We review the plot, discuss the story, quote key passages, and spoil everything.
As a PEL Citizen, you can listen to our Philosophical Fiction conversations in Free Stuff, and I’d recommend:
“Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy (with special guest Dylan Casey)
You can also join a future conversation or recommend a read, by visiting our forum in Not School- Philosophical Fiction. As always, happy reading!