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The Summary of The Short Story "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

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This grotesque tale of sudden violence in the rural South opens quietly, with a family orchestrating a vacation. The husband, Bailey, his wife, and their children, John Wesley and June Star, all want to go to Florida. The grandmother, Bailey’s mother, however, wants to go to east Tennessee, where she has relatives, and she determinedly endeavors to persuade them to go there instead. Unable to convince them that the peregrination to Tennessee will be novel and broadening for the children, the grandmother offers as a final argument a newspaper article that verbally expresses that a psychopathic killer who calls himself The Misfit is heading toward Florida.

Ignoring the grandmother’s wishes and caveats, the family sets out the next morning for Florida. The grandmother settles herself in the car ahead of the others so that her son will not ken that she has brought along her feline, Pitty Sing, obnubilated in a basket under her seat. As the peregrination proceeds, she chatters away, pointing out fascinating details of scenery, admonishing her son not to drive too expeditious, telling stories to the children. Throughout the drive, the children squabble, the baby cries, the father grows irritable. In short, the peregrination is both awful and mundane, filled with the trivia, vapidity, and petty rancors of daily life, from which the family cannot escape, even on vacation.

At lunchtime, they stop at Red Sammy’s, a barbecue eatery, where the grandmother laments that “people are certainly not nice like they used to be,” and Red Sammy accedes: “A good man is hard to find.” In this conversation, the grandmother, narrow-minded and opinionated, perpetually assures herself that she is a lady, a good Christian, and a discerning judge of character: She maintains that Red Sammy, an authoritarian loudmouth, is a “good man” and that Europe “was entirely to inculpate for the way things were now.”

After they leave the roadhouse, the grandmother manipulates her son into making a detour to optically discern an old plantation she once visited as a girl. Suddenly, she recollects that the plantation is not in Georgia but in Tennessee. She is so upset at this entelechy that she jumps up and upsets her valise, whereupon the feline jumps out onto her son’s shoulder, her son loses control of the car, the car overturns, and they all land in a ditch.

As they emerge, an old, “hearse-like” automobile comes over the hill and ceases for them. Three men step out, one of whom the grandmother instantly identifies as The Misfit. The grandmother, realizing that he intends to kill them, endeavors to verbalize him out of it by appealing to his chivalry, urging him not to shoot a lady. Then she endeavors flattery, asserting that she can tell that he is a “good man.” She endeavors to tempt him by suggesting that he stop being an outlaw and subside to a comfortable life. She urges him to pray to Jesus for avail and forgiveness. Conclusively she endeavors to bribe him with mazuma. All these tactics fail. As she verbalizes with him, he has his henchmen take the other members of the family to the woods and shoot them.

Albeit The Misfit rejects all the grandmother’s arguments, he heedfully auricularly discerns them proximately; he pays particular attention when the grandmother refers to Jesus. Indeed, The Misfit declares, “Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead. . . . He thrown everything off balance. If He did what He verbalized, then it’s nothing for you to do but discard everything and follow him.” In his excruciating pride, however, The Misfit maintains that he is unable to believe without having been a witness; consequently, “it’s nothing for you to do but relish the few minutes you got left the best way you can—by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No delectation but meanness.”When the grandmother is at last alone with The Misfit, she forsakes all of her tactics. Her head clears for an instant, in which she visually perceives the murderer as thin, frail, and pitiable. Declaring “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” she reaches out and physically contacts him. He recoils in revulsion and shoots her. Having been witness to the grandmother’s moment of grace, The Misfit admits that “meanness” has lost its kick: “It’s no authentic pleasure in life.”

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The Summary of the Short Story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. (2018, December 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from
“The Summary of the Short Story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”.” GradesFixer, 03 Dec. 2018,
The Summary of the Short Story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2022].
The Summary of the Short Story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Dec 03 [cited 2022 May 26]. Available from:
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