O’Connor delineates Bailey in the short story through brief exposition. However, his source of goodness is manifested throughout the narrative. The author reveals that the grandmother is an intruder in her son’s home (O’Conner 119). Prior to their departure on their road trip, John Wesley suggests she remains home implying she is not the acceptable and lovable personality she adorns.
O’Connor brings out Bailey’s goodness through his tolerance despite his long suffering. His traits are brought out when he repeatedly yields to his mother’s nagging behavior. For instance, he yields to her persistence to find her reveries (Bonney, 348). The detour ultimately leads to his death along with his family. As such, he illustrates actions implying genuine goodness although he is not met with equal affection.
On the contrary, Bailey’s goodness transforms in some instances where he is sometimes rude. He frowns at Red Sammy’s wife on her request for a dance. Additionally, Bailey lets out an expletive when her mother reveals Misfit’s identity. Nonetheless, Bailey as is portrayed to be more than the reserved character with less transformation throughout the story. By the end of the story, he remains a good but overlooked man.
The author further transforms the meaning of the word good when the grandmother elevates the villain into the status one of her children (Bonney 350). At this moment of impending doom, the narrative raises questions as to whether the grandmother speaks literally to Misfit or to the general mankind. The narrative depicts the human race character, the good or evil to which we all belong.
The word “good” is subject to transformation throughout the story. It is transferred from God to the grandmother and onto The Misfit. This gives the reader the notion that the old woman is an unfit vessel for grace. On the contrary, the Misfit is presented as the only character with a sense of raising morally serious questions about human experience. This makes him remotely interpretive of the internal misfit, Christ. This character can be inferred where the old woman calls the Misfit Jesus just before she is killed (Bonney 350). As such, the meaning of the word good transforms in the various instances up to the end of the story.
From one vantage point, the story’s theme can be conclusively stated as the absence of righteous men. At the dramatic centre of the narrative is the old woman who considers herself a nominal Christian. Before the encounter in the hands of her killers, the grandmother has proceeded living assuming that the closely scrutinized life is not worth living until the Misfit forces her to rethink (Bonney 350). Throughout the story, various ills on the part of the human race are brought in the various characters.
The Misfit wants to continue leading a life of crime without reckoning. He seeks to underpin to believe in divine retribution because he believes that belief cannot suppress pleasure (O’Conner 140). Although the action of grace is depicted in the horribly imperfect, the absence of good is what stands out in the main characters in the narrative. Further, the narrative brings out the contrast of violent action while simultaneously showing the role God plays in the ordinary people’s lives.
Although the narrative begins innocently enough, the author introduces the character of the Misfit as an escaped convict who brutally murders a whole family at the conclusion of the story (Bonney 350). This is in line with the story’s theme of the absence of good men. The old woman only attains grace in the events preceding her death. Further, the various characters in the narrative are too blinded to make a spiritual connection in seeing the truth.
The characters in the story are not likable. When she presents her characters in a way that they draw little sympathy from the readers, it can be implied that grace is available for everyone even the loathsome. The theme of the absence of good men is brought out in every way in all the characters that are presented as either repulsive or violent. Genuine goodness does not square with the way human beings are in the real perspective. Questions arise on what it means to be good or evil.
The characters in the story are brought to a point of crisis in their lives. The main characters have a level of self confidence where they feel that their conduct is unquestionable. However, their self confidence is destroyed as the events unfold. This causes them to reevaluate their past lives to perceive the world with a new perspective.
The story implies that the world is a cruel place to dwell in, words echoed by Red Sammy, a hotel proprietor (Bonney 347). He further asserts that it is not easy to find a righteous man, which is in line with the narrative’s title. The words precede the untimely death of the family.