One instance is when the grandmother is pleading with the misfit not to be killed. She believes that he is good since he won’t kill a lady and says that to the misfit. Deep down, she knows that the misfit is not a good man, but she goes ahead and says that he is “a good man”. However, the misfit insists that he is not a good man and says that “I found out that crime doesn’t matter. You can do one thing, or you can do another, kill a man or take a tire off his car, sooner or later you will be punished for it” (Alther, p. 123). By depicting the misfit as a good man, she knows that she is openly lying, a case that goes against her Christian faith. In (The New International Version, Proverbs 12:22), the Lord detests lying lips but delights in those who are trustworthy. While the Bible warns about lying for whatever case, the grandmother chooses to lie to save her life. This further portrays the nature of human’s as inherently selfish and egocentric. This realization even begs the question of the essence of living to the grandmother when her whole family had been murdered in the woods by Misfit’s accomplices.
The story also indicates the need to respect parents as the Bible directs. The grandmother and Bailey and his family disagree about the vacationing locality since the grandmother want’s the family to visit East Tennessee while the other family members prefer going to Florida. In a bid to scare Bailey and make him buy her idea of visiting East Tennessee, she warns him of going to Florida since the misfit had escaped from federal prison (Alther, p. 1). In the meantime, Bailey is reading the sports column in the newspaper while his wife is feeding the baby thus completely ignoring her. The children join in the disagreement and openly express their displeasure in the vacationing location the grandmother had chosen. This act foreshadows their murder by the misfit and his friends the following day since as they head to their vacationing point, they are murdered by the misfit and his friends in the woods. In (New International Version, Deuteronomy 5: 16), the Bible warns that disrespecting one’s parents leads to a short lifespan. This point is indicated in the story since it is evident that the family was killed since they went in the misfit’s direction as the grandmother had warned.
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The family is also portrayed as having more concern for material gains as opposed to what Christianity teaches. When the children have finished eating and start asking the grandmother for more, she tells them of a story in the olden days when she was courting and failed to marry a suitor by the name Teargarden since he brought her watermelons one weekend as a gift. June Star states that she would not have married the man also since he could not afford anything else apart from watermelons (Alther, p. 26). She is however shocked to learn that Mr. Teargarden died a wealthy man since he purchased Coca-Cola stock after he separated from the grandmother. This portrays the family’s great concern for material things while disregarding other factors. To them, Mr. Teargarden was a hero since he had managed to accumulate wealth during his life. This goes against the Biblical teachings which portray the importance of leading a poor lifestyle materially as opposed to living in affluence since most of the wealth is usually gained through corrupt means. Example; in the story of Lazarus and the rich man, the Bible talks of the rich man as having gone to hell while Lazarus went to heaven after death. The Bible goes ahead to show how the rich man begged Lazarus to pour some water on him since he was being consumed by the hell fires (New International Version, Luke 16: 19- 31).
The book also portrays the lack of compassion among the members of the family. While Christianity teaches compassion, love and empathy for one another, the family portrays the opposite characteristics. When the grandmother recalls that they were heading to the wrong direction since the house they were heading to was not in Georgia, Bailey turns the car and just then, the cat jumps out of the box and rests on Bailey’s shoulder (Alther, p. 45). Bailey is unable to control the car and it goes off the road and overturns severally. The children are happy that the accident happened and June Star goes ahead to say that she is disappointed that nobody died. Just then, the grandmother signals the occupants of a hearse-like vehicle that appears up the hill to come and help them. It turns out that Misfit and his accomplices were in the vehicle and when they come downhill, they separate the family for murder. The grandmother is left with the misfit while the rest of the family is taken to the woods by Misfit’s friends to be killed. While negotiating for her release, the grandmother does not show concern for the rest of the family but only talks about her freedom. This portrays her lack of compassion for the other members of the family, a value that is against the Biblical teachings that direct Christians to love their neighbours as they love themselves (New International Version, Mark 12: 31).
- Alther, Lisa. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor. New York: Women’s Press LTD. (1988).
- The Holy Bible: New International Version. Zondervan. (1984).