The Misfit spent his whole life believing in something that was, in my opinion as a believer, wrong. It is very hard to follow something your entire life and accept something entirely opposite in the matter of minutes and ask for forgiveness making it entirely difficult for The Misfit to commit toward what the grandmother was trying to persuade. Living a Christian lifestyle, you must take in consideration that forgiveness takes part in commitment toward Jesus Christ. Commitment is something that you do not rush into, commitment is something that takes time and is something you build.
To ask for forgiveness for sin takes courage and the want to turn wrong into right. This point in The Misfit’s life is where the fear of not only commitment but change takes its toll. Changing his perception meant changing his beliefs, and changing his beliefs meant changing his life. The Misfit was not only afraid of change but afraid of the fact that Jesus may have actually arisen from the dead, resulting in his beliefs to be obliterated and his life a terrible mistake. A realization this big forced him to eliminate doubt, in this case the grandmother trying to convince him of being, in her point of view, good.
But the grandmother’s words didn’t fade along with her death; O’Conner commented on her own work saying, “…the old lady’s gesture, like the mustard-seed, will grow to be a great crow-filled tree in The Misfit’s heart…” (Kennedy, Gioia 253) Without question, In my opinion, along with O’Connor’s, the grandmother’s act of reaching out to another son of God, forgiveness and change prove to show great effect in a person’s life in this story with the result of a drastic measure ending the life of a woman leaving a mark on The Misfit’s heart and beliefs.
Not only was the Misfit’s life affected by change, but the grandmother’s life took a drastic turn as well. Supporting my idea, Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton stated “As the paths of these two characters converge . . . they are both given opportunities for grace. ” (Brinkmeyer Jr. , from Kennedy, Gioia 267) Case in point, throughout the story the grandmother was worried about taking the image of a Christian woman other than acting like one. Being selfish, the grandmother only thought of herself when the location of the trip was being decided.
Not only did the dispute between the family and the grandmother represent her selfishness but more importantly her desire to save only herself as the people she loved died around her. The confrontation with the Misfit gave the grandmother’s attitude a turn in the opposite direction resulting in an understanding that her life wasn’t being lived in a Christian manner. This realization led to an attempt to save the Misfit’s life and help him make the right decisions in the future through the acceptance of Jesus Christ, probably the most honorable thing a person could do in their life.
The struggle of accepting Christ and following Him with Christian morals really takes part in the story and is the main reason for conflict. Robert H. Brinkmeyer Jr. , a critic on Flannery O’Connor, studied O’Connor’s work and evidentially came to say O’Connor was, “Trying to bridge this gap between believing author and unbelieving audience…”(Piedmont-Marton) I believe O’Connor, “Trying to bridge this gap…” truly took the struggle of acceptance into consideration judging on her history for writing short stories and their plots.
Symbolically, O’Connor uses the grandmother’s words of persuasion to suggest the power that good has over evil and the desperate actions evil will carry out to avoid the fact that it is mistaken. Forgiveness and change is among the last steps of transforming evil, or sin, into what is right. With that being said, evil makes a choice relying on the quality of persuasion, in this case the grandmother portraying the fact that forgiveness and change is still an option. Talk about death being the factor that influences the misfit and the grandmother specifically through Christ.
Then emphasize how Christ is the center of the internal conflict. And then broaden the very end by talking about how the story is about death and how each faith impacts decision making and how the story turns out.
Bibliography Piedmont-Marton, Elisabeth, for Short Stories for Students, Gale Research, 1997. Kennedy, X. J. and Dana Gioia. Literature An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Boston: 2010. Print Brinkmeyer Jr. , Robert H. “Flannery O’Connor and Her Readers. ” Literature An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Boston: 2007. Print