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Lauren Allen Prof. Kathy Dzielawa Comp.

101 Final One-Line Analysis 11 March 2014 Nothing but Meanness In the short story A Good Man Is Hard To Find Flannery OConner says No pleasure but meanness (11). This line is extremely esoteric and potent. In this story we get a glimpse of a misjudged man, The Misfit, who experiences nothing but the meanness of the world. The Misfit is labeled as an outcast, and a bad man and loses his faith in god as a result. Thus this develops the idea to the Misfit that there is no pleasure but meanness (11). By examining the Misfits experiences, one can argue that the effect of labels given by society can be life changing and spiritually changing as well. In this story, A Good Man Is Hard To Find we see how a Christian, a husband, and in societies eyes; a good man, changes into what society views as a bad man. The Misfit is looked at as a bad man in this story A Good Man Is Hard to find. The grandmother says, Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is a loose from the Federal Pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people (2). She reads this line to her son to grab his attention and tries to engage him in what she is reading in the paper. Then the grandmother states I wouldnt take my children in any direction with a criminal like that a loose in it (2). Here the grandmother is reading a newspaper about a prisoner who has escaped from prison and has said to have done some terrible things. The grandmother, without knowing anything about the prisoner except what the paper has to say, judges the misfit and labels him as a criminal. A criminal is someone who commits crimes and is looked upon by society as a bad man. Thus, she places a judgment and wouldnt have her children around anyone
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like that. The Misfit says, It was a head-doctor at the penitentiary said what I had done was kill my daddy (10). He is told by a doctor that he killed his own father. The doctor is telling the Misfit that he has committed a heinous crime. Society looks at people that commit crimes as bad people. Been an undertaker (10). The Misfit labels himself as an undertaker. This is a person whose job is to prepare dead bodies for burial. Thus, he is giving us another clue as to what type of person he has become. The Misfit foreshadows here, giving the grandmother a hint that he is going to kill her. Society looks at killers, or people who kill other people, as bad men or people. The Misfit is practically calling himself a bad man by labeling himself as an undertaker. In this story, the Misfit is looked upon as a criminal, a bad man, someone who steals, and is no one you would want to be associated with. The Misfit said Jesus shown everything off balance (11). In this quote, the Misfit is saying that nothing is as it should be in the world. He feels as though that good people experience some of the worst things life has to offer, whereas the really bad people live well. The Misfit viewed himself as a righteous, Christian person who ended up experiencing some of the worst tragedies in life. This can make one question their religion and how true it is, or how much truth is to it. A man is left to question his faith in god and his Christian religion after experiencing some of the worst things life has to offer. Following his Christian ways as they were taught to him and that he was raised by, he ends up in prison, labeled a bad man, and looked upon as an outcast. Some would probably say, or try to use Jesuss story and experience on earth, as an example of what the Misfit experiences as a man in the world. Then some would probably argue that this is an example that there is no higher power, or that the higher power that the Misfit chose to follow mislead him. Life isnt always fair and it isnt an easy path for some.

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The Misfit has been broken by the hard tests in life he was given, and thus fails and ends up in the wrong life style. The Misfit is also labeled an outcast; different from the rest. The Misfit explains that his daddy labeled him at a young age, telling him that he was a different breed of dog from his brothers and sister. This is a starting cause of why the Misfit becomes labeled an outcast to society. He further explains Daddy said its some that can live their whole life without asking about it and its others has to know why it is, and this boy is one of the latters (9). Again, the father is telling the Misfit that he is different because he is one of the people that have to ask questions in life. The father is basically saying that one who questions everything is one who stirs up trouble and one who doesnt fit in with the rest of society. Thus he says this is the reason Hes going to be into everything (9). Explaining that he is different and different because he wants to know why and not just go along with what he is told, claiming he will be involved in everything. Describing his father he says Daddy was a card himself (9). Referring to his dad as a wildcard; someone who runs wild and does things most people wouldnt do. This has an impact on the Misfit, as this is his father he refers to as being a card. One can agree that this is ironic, as the Misfit becomes somewhat of a card himself. As he loses his faith he embodies another label as the undertaker. He becomes the undertaker when he loses faith, and in his eyes shown from his life experiences that being a good man gets one nowhere. Throughout the story we are reminded and shown how the Misfit loses all faith in god due to the events that have taken place in his lifetime. He says, I was a gospel singer for a while (9). Here in this quote the Misfit is telling us that he once was a man of faith and religion. Been married twice (9). He also lets us know that he tried to live a Christian life by trying marriage twice. Then he says been an undertaker (9). Now we are given a sign of the

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Misfit taking a turn against his Christian roots. As he calls himself the undertaker he is associating himself with death instead of life. Turn to the right; it was a wall, The Misfit said, looking up again at the cloudless sky (10). The Misfit turns to the left of him and then up to the sky for help from god, but sees nothing but gets no response. Turn to the left, it was a wall (10). Then he turns to the left and still no answer. Look up it was a ceiling; look down it was a floor (10). Again, The Misfit looks up at the ceiling this time then down at the floor, and still no answer from god as to why he was being punished the way he was. Losing his faith and belief in god, the Misfit starts to change for the worse. Jesus shown everything off balance (11). It was the same case with him as with me except he hadnt committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had papers on me (11). He explains that god showed him that nothing is as it should be; meaning that the good get punished even when they live righteously. The Misfit explains that Jesus story is similar to his, except they didnt have any evidence or papers on Jesus committing any crimes just accusations. Whereas in his case, they had papers to prove that he had committed the crime they accused him of. He labels himself I call myself The Misfit, he said, because I cant make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment (11). Labeling himself again as The Misfit, because he cannot grasp the concept as to why the things he has done wrong do not match the punishments he has endured in his life. He explains If he did what he said, then its nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow him, and if he didnt, then its nothing for you to do but enjoy 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 (11). As one can see the Misfit is saying that if Jesus did what he claimed, Then one should have nothing but faith and trust that they can throw all their fears to the side and have faith and trust in god.

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However, if Jesus did not do what he said he did, then one should not care about whats right and wrong and that one should do whatever makes them happy; even if it includes killing someone or doing one last mean thing to another. The Misfit says Its no real pleasure in life (11). As a Christian you are taught to believe that it is a blessing to have woken up every morning. Christians are taught that if you live a righteous life you will be happy in the end. In this quote, The Misfit shows again that he does not believe there to be any happiness in life. In the life of The Misfit, his bad and mean experiences overshadow the good experiences he has had in life. The bad outweighs the good for The Misfit. No pleasure but meanness (11). In this story, we are shown the meanness one person, The Misfit, experiences throughout his lifetime. The Misfit is labeled an outcast, a bad man, and he loses his faith in god along the way. We our shown a man who was convicted of a crime in which he was never shown adequate evidence that backed up the accusation against him. The justice system labeled him a criminal and outcast to society. The Misfit was looked upon as a bad man and judged solely off a crime that did not fit the person he was in his past. With all the meanness and unfairness The Misfit experiences, he loses his faith in god and his Christianity. He tells us how he went from being a gospel singer, and a husband to a criminal. The Misfit is described as a Christian man who had been broken down from the tragedies and tribulations god placed upon him. This leaves The Misfit with the idea that in life there is no pleasure, just meanness. He is left with the idea that good people are meant to suffer whether they live a righteous life or a life of crime.
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