A Good Man is Hard to Find
by Flannery O'Connor
A Good Man is Hard to Find Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Paragraph)
"Hush!" Bailey yelled. "Hush! Everybody shut up and let me handle this!" He was squatting in the position of a runner about to sprint forward but he didn't move. (91)
Bailey tries to reassert his authority, telling everyone else (particularly the grandmother) to "shut up" and let him deal with The Misfit. Ironically, the dad seems ill-equipped to deal with the situation. Not only is he panicking, but the narrator also makes it particularly hard to take him seriously because of the contrast drawn in that second sentence: it looks from his body posture like he's about to do something, but he's not doing anything. Bailey's all show.
There was a pistol shot from the woods, followed closely by another. Then silence. The old lady's head jerked around. She could hear the wind move through the tree tops like a long satisfied insuck of breath. "Bailey Boy!" she called. (108)
Bailey and John Wesley are shot in the woods. Even at this point there's a darkly comic effect, given that "long satisfied insuck" of the wind. The grandmother does appear traumatized by what's just happened, though, and may be losing control of herself. In spite of how dislikable the family is, we are shocked and sympathize for the doomed family.
The children's mother had begun to make heaving noises as if she couldn't get her breath. "Lady," [The Misfit] asked, "would you and that little girl like to step off yonder with Bobby Lee and Hiram and join your husband?"
"Yes, thank you," the mother said faintly. Her left arm dangled helplessly and she was holding the baby, who had gone to sleep, in the other. (124-125)
The mother is obviously grief-stricken, and agrees to go die with her husband (bringing her baby along) without a fight. She loves him, and doesn't want to live without him (unlike the grandmother, who's still hard at work on The Misfit to save herself). The mother's character has been so undeveloped, and her exchange with The Misfit is so casual and subdued ("Yes, thank you"??), that the scene is plain bizarre. All the more so when June Star insults Bobby Lee immediately afterwards.