A Good Man is Hard to Find
by Flannery O'Connor
A Good Man is Hard to Find Manipulation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Paragraph)
"Yes, it's a beautiful day," said the grandmother. "Listen," she said, "you shouldn't call yourself The Misfit because I know you're a good man at heart. I can just look at you and tell." (88)
We've already seen the grandmother call somebody (Red Sammy) a good man before, and it seemed pretty artificial. Now she seems to be hoping that she can either appeal to the "good man" in The Misfit, or convince him that he is enough of a "good man" to let her go. That she's sincere seems doubtful. We can't forget that the grandmother has already brought up The Misfit twice as a big, bad, scary man.
"You could be honest too if you'd only try," said the grandmother. "Think how wonderful it would be to settle down and live a comfortable life and not have to think about somebody chasing you all the time." (90)
The grandmother is again trying to work on The Misfit, this time by giving him the promise of a "respectable," and "comfortable" life. Her equation of "goodness" with the values of her social class is clear in what she says. None of this matters in her dealings with The Misfit, who she is woefully unequipped to manage.
"Bailey Boy!" the grandmother called in a tragic voice but she found she was looking at The Misfit squatting on the ground in front of her. "I just know you're a good man," she said desperately. "You're not a bit common!" (98)
Bailey's sent to be shot, and the grandmother quickly gets back to work on The Misfit. She doesn't beg for Bailey's life either. You could see this as evidence that all she really cares about is her own skin. Even when she despairingly calls out for Bailey, she's still looking at The Misfit. Then again, maybe she's genuinely traumatized by what's happening, and is reacting without thinking. Her attempt to appeal to The Misfit's better nature might be an instinctual move to save her life. Hence the "desperation" in her voice.