An Analysis of the Agent of Grace Archetype in the Character of the Misfit in A Good Man is Hard to Find, a Short Story by Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor is rather popular for her use of the “agent of grace” archetype. This character, who is not necessarily an excellent individual, is utilized to present magnificent grace onto the primary character who up till that point had been blind (sometimes with glasses) to something in life. In O’Connor’s short story A Good Guy is Hard to Discover the character of the Misfit does act as an agent of grace to the grandma and the granny does undoubtedly really get grace from the Misfit. Many critics do not believe that the Misfit, a recognized serial killer, might be such a representative of grace.

However, upon digging much deeper one will discover that even down to his name he is extremely Christlike. Jesus himself is a misfit and was not able to genuinely fit in, and was continuously persecuted also up until he was crucified. O’Connor is clearly using a direct opposite of Chris to reveal redemption and grace originating from even the most not likely of individuals. Not a soul in Jerusalem in the times of Jesus would have anticipated that grace would originate from a no one who is the kid of a carpenter. In addition, the Misfit does what Christ himself did which is show individuals what they really seem and that is why the Granny gets grace. Jesus in all of the biblical stories is known for metaphorically holding a mirror to people and allowing them to see themselves the method God does and it remains in this way that grace happens. Many times the grandma stops working in her faith and even concurs that “possibly he didn’t raise the dead”(O’Connor 12) nevertheless when she lastly touches the Misfit, who is a Christ figure, she is able to see herself as she is and acquire grace. It is very comparable to the story of Jesus and the bleeding lady and O’Connor is using this parallel and her Catholic background to show that grace is offered even in a flash to the grandmother. In this bible story, Jesus is approached by a woman who has been living a life of sin and is bleeding rather terribly. As Jesus walks through the crowds the female “connected and touched him”(O’Connor 12), and Jesus upon being touched “bounced back as if a snake had bitten him”(O’Connor 12) and Jesus gave this lady divine grace. It is in this way that just like the bleeding woman the old lady gets grace.

Some literary critics believe that this expected grace is simply “cheap grace”, an idea from theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which the grandmother “seems to be simply deserving of cheap grace”(Fox 11). At other points critics believe that considering that “her head just clears for an “instant”(Fox 10) which it “is just insufficient time to undergo a total spiritual improvement”(Fox 10). Both of these assumptions, nevertheless much merit might appear to them, are entirely incorrect. The argument that the granny gets only low-cost grace is ludicrous since of the truth that numerous in the bible who have actually become saints have gotten grace in a comparable manner, and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer himself specifies in his book Nachfolge (Discipleship) that pricey grace “is pricey due to the fact that it forces a man to send to the yoke of Christ and follow him”(Bonhoeffer). This is precisely what is able to occur with the granny since during her minute of surprise, as short as it is, she is demonstrated how she genuinely is by the Misfit and sends to Christ.

Now to the 2nd argument, that it is difficult for grace to take place within such a restraint of time which is likewise ludicrous. In the Bible there are numerous instances of horrible people, suffering people who touched Jesus and were immediately altered and healed. Paul the famous apostle was a Christian hunter himself and was blinded instantly by the light of God and was provided expensive grace really similar to the granny, as was Zacchaeus, the bleeding lady and a host of maimed people. The bottom line of this story is not that grace is unattainable, but that grace is provided to all who give themselves to the Lord and realize they require him in their lives which by the end of the story the grandma does. She attains this final grace in the minutes of desperation of her last bit of life prior to her death. This indicates that O’Connor’s use of a typical Christ figure appears in this narrative much like her others.