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The grandmother in the book is a central figure in the extended family and most of what happens in the story is a direct result of the grandmother (Bonney, 1990). There is a strong sense of social status in the grandmother’s tone, which is particularly evident when she begs the misfit not to kill her because she is a lady. She also plays the role of mother during the trip and its aftermath. In addition, it is her decision to take the children on a trip to Tennessee that leads to their murder by the misfit. During the trip, the grandmother attempts to show her heroine side by attempting to draw the misfit away from his plan to murder the family. Social status is also apparent in the book as the author makes numerous references about fundamental traditions and values of the South. Flannery O’Connor in her book discusses cultural aspects via the role of the grandmother as the mother of the family, family relationships, and the family’s social status. The author discusses the cultural role of the grandmother as the family’s mother as a way to understand the manner in which the misfit viewed the family. The grandmother believes herself to be a lady and does things she expects other motherly ladies would do. For example, she asks the misfit to pray in order to make a connection with him and to ensure he understood that she was not only a lady, but a respectful Southern lady who believed in prayer. She mutters “Jesus, Jesus” (O’Connor, 2011) to him as a way of telling him that it was only Jesus who could save him. Throughout the book, she makes references to her being a motherly lady, even telling him that she was her son as a way to stop him from killing her. According to her, the fact that she was a mother and lady would stop the misfit from killing her (Bonney, 1990). The misfit understood from the beginning that the grandmother wished to be treated as a mother and a lady, which is evidenced by his apology after he appears shirtless in front of the family. The author discusses the cultural aspects of what it means to be a “good man” through the social status of the grandmother as a lady, as well as the misfit’s lack of adherence to social principles. While the grandmother expects the misfit and everyone else to treat her as a lady with grace and charm, this is, in fact, the opposite of what she is (Bonney, 1990). For instance, the grandmother evokes conscience at the start of the book, although she is conveniently non-committal when it comes to lying to the children concerning the car’s secret panel, sneaking pitty sing without their knowledge into the car, and opting to stay silent about her mistake with regards to the house’s location (O’Connor, 2011). While the grandmother attempts to appeal to the misfit’s conscience regarding mothers and ladies, she does not behave this way when the misfit begins to kill her family. Rather than beg the misfit to spare the life of her children and grandchildren as a lady would, she begs for her own life. She does not believe that the misfit would kill her since she was a lady and mother, attempting to appease his psych by appealing to what she considered as a male weakness for mothers and ladies. However, it seems that the misfit had already seen through her facade and goes on to kill anyway, contending that she would have been a good lady if “she had been shot every minute of her life” (O’Connor, 2011). The manner in which the book ends reinforce the book’s title that it is hard to find a good man since the misfit does not respect the grandmother’s social status as a mother or lady. Even though the grandmother makes her best attempts to mold him into a good man, telling him that, “if you pray, Jesus would help you”
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