O’Connor attempts to bring out evidence of God’s grace through the actions of characters that are brought as either physically or spiritually atrocious. The short story depicts the predicament and the events unfolding as a family is brutally murdered by an escaped convict. The characters are from a difficult family comprised of a conniving grandmother, a self restrained son and his wife, a baby and their mischievous children June Wesley and June Star (O’Conner 112).
The title of the story
The story’s title is borrowed from a popular song at the time the story was written (Green 14). The title is a declarative sentence that issues a warning and a challenge all at once. The title infers that the good are rare so that one always finds the other kind. However, scarcity is only a part of the problem because even when goodness is within proximity, it is not acknowledged. The title insists upon the reader that goodness should be recognized and its agents treated with affection.
Who considers themselves to be good in the story?
The grandmother regards herself as righteous in the various instances where she makes modest attempts to appease her adversary. She contemplates death and attempts to avert the looming danger. She seeks to superimpose decency and good upbringing on the Misfit (O’Conner 115). Additionally, she tries to infuse the adversary with a false appreciation for the vague worthiness left in him. However, her tricks are discovered as Misfit brushes off her claims and say that he is a good man only he displays anomalous modesty (Bonney 349). Further, she offers Bailey’s shirt to Misfit in an attempt to help the villain aspire to a higher standard, her envisaged standard of a decent son.
The spiritual connection portrayed by the grandmother during her ordeal with Misfit is interrupted when she hears gunshots as her son is murdered (Bonney 349). However she continues to proselytize Misfit although she loses her grasp on the temporal world. The moment of clarity is brought about when the grandmother reaches for the man in her son’s shirt. In addition, she seems to elevate him to the status of one of her own (O’Conner 140). She seems to realize that goodness is found in the common place. The grandmother realizes that goodness has been in her midst all along, Bailey was the good man.