In 'A Good Man Is Hard to Find ,' events are told from the grandmother's point of view, making her the central character of the story. We see at the beginning of the story that she considers herself to be a lady. First by her description of her traveling outfit in comparison to what the mother wore 'slacks... still had her hair tied up in a green handkerchief. ' Then by her mindset that if there were to be an accident, 'anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady.
The question she asks of the Misfit, 'You wouldn't shoot a lady, would you clearly states this. Further into reading the story we see she has very 'un-ladylike' qualities. Right from the beginning her being self-centered is shown by her trying to get a pre-planned vacation destination changed. 'She wanted to visit some of her connections '... and she was seizing at every chance to change Bailey's mind. Further on in the story it is shown again by her getting Bailey to change course to stop at a plantation house.
The children are used as an aid in this by her craftily telling them 'There was a secret-panel in this house, hich, not being true, shows that she has no problem being dishonest to get what she wants. The grandmother also thinks of herself as morally superior to others. This is shown when she tells Bailey that she wouldn't take her children in the direction that 'a criminal like that was loose in. 'I couldn't answer my conscience if I did. It seems she is pointing out how morally superior she is in just this one statement.
The grandmother's desire to return to the past, when people were nice, respectful and trustworthy are shown in her conversation with Red Sammy. These days you don't know who to trust he says as he sits down at a table next to the family. He tells them of how 'two fellers had stolen gas the week before by charging and never coming back to pay. 'Now why did I do that he asks. 'Because you're a good man! the grandmother immediately replies. Red Sammy's purpose in the story is to show how no one can be trusted.
His view of life relates to the story in the way that the family ran up with a few boys that should have helped them but instead bring about their demise. The misfit characterizes himself as not being a good man, but he isn't 'the worst in the world neither. His belief that he has served time for something that he was wrongly accused of has left him bitter and his anger at his unbelief has lead him into a life of violence.
He is an unbeliever who has given his life to becoming a murderer to pass the time. 'I found out that crime don't matter... kill a man or take a tire off his car, because sooner or later you're going to forget ¦. and just be punished for it. He is not simply insane, he is fully aware of his killings, after all he is the one who gives the orders to his sidekicks. In his statement to the grandmother, '.. t's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can by killing someone ¦.. or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meaness.
The grandmother's conversation with the Misfit is one of manipulation in the beginning. 'I just know you're a good man. You're not a bit common! ', she says to him in the hopes that this 'flattery will perhaps save her life. In the end though the sadness, anger and hurt the Misfit shows her leads her to feel sympathy and compassion as her 'head cleared for an instant. Why you're one of my babies. You're one of my children! ' The Misfit doesn't want to be held accountable for his actions. If Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, that would make Him real. If He is real then the Misfit will have to answer for his actions. Murder is sin and he would be held accountable for all that he had committed.
The Misfit's statement, 'Jesus is the only One that ever raised the dead, and He shouldn't have done it. He shown everything off balance, hows his conflict. Because he can't be sure of it actually happening, he isn't sure what to think of it which causes his inner conflict. Knowing that her time of death is near her 'head clears for an instant leading the grandmother to reach out and touch the Misfit. This act of goodness leads him to spring back, 'as if a snake had bitten him. The Misfit's comment, 'She would have been a good woman... if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life,' shows that he sees that she is acting out of the goodness of her heart, but only after she is faced with her own death.