A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Characters

Characters

The main characters in A Good Man Is Hard to Find are the Grandmother and the Misfit. Minor characters are: Bailey, June Star, John Wesley, the children’s mother, Bobby Lee, Hiram, Red Sam, Red Sammy’s wife, and the baby.

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Welcome A Good Man Is Hard to Find characters page prepared by our editorial team! It describes the main and minor characters in A Good Man Is Hard to Find and provides a comprehensive analysis of their roles in the short story.

👵 The Grandmother in A Good Man Is Hard to Find

A Good Man Is Hard to Find characters: the Grandmother.

In A Good Man Is Hard to Find, the Grandmother is an elderly lady. She is nostalgic about the “Old South,” where her young years passed. Bailey’s mother is very self-centered, manipulative, and never shows any traces of affection toward her family members. Her son asked her not to take the cat, but she secretly hid it in a basket, afraid that the cat would “asphyxiate himself,” turning on the gas burners.

Her biggest concern is to be a lady in society’s eyes.

In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

At least in her point of view, the image of a lady makes her morally superior to ignore other people’s needs and requests. Moreover, her favorite subject for discussion is judging others and giving characterization to their actions.

Thus, the Grandmother’s considerations about the low morality of the new generation appear to be ironic. Still, it is a dynamic character that changes by the end of the story. The Misfit says she would be a good woman “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

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😎 The Misfit in A Good Man Is Hard to Find

The Misfit took this name because he did not think his offenses fit the punishment he had to endure. The criminal was always a “misfit” in his family, being “a different breed of dog” from his siblings. He never was “a bad boy,” on the contrary, he was inquisitive and “going to be into everything.”

The reader of A Good Man Is Hard to Find learns that The Misfit escaped from the federal prison at the beginning of the story. The Grandmother reads it in the newspaper to her family members.

Just you read it. I wouldn’t take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn’t answer to my conscience if I did.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

He was sentenced for killing his father, although he rejects this fact. The criminal speaks of his parents in a positive tone and says he is not guilty.

He even compares himself to Jesus: none of them committed any crimes, but The Misfit was imprisoned because “they had papers” on him.

The Misfit’s character analysis is a complicated task as he is the most mysterious personality in the story. He victimizes himself in all his offenses and forgets what he was punished for. But the criminal’s innocence is hardly believable, provided how easily he killed the entire family. He is used to killing people. Moreover, this is the only pleasure in his life.

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… it’s 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.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

What Does The Misfit Symbolize?

The Misfit is the personification of Christ and Antichrist at the same time.

He is self-assured and arrogant. He judges people in a literal way (killing them). The Misfit is also likely to symbolize the Grandmother’s “dark side” and, more generally, the dark side of any other person. This character is grotesque, i.e., his traits are exaggerated.

🎭 Minor Characters

Bailey

Bailey is the Grandmother’s only son. We learn it in the first lines, which helps us to avoid misunderstanding when the Grandmother claims that The Misfit is one of her children.

Bailey ignores his mother and shows complete disrespect to her, never answering her questions and remarks. He looks irritated most of the time.

All right!.. Will you all shut up? Will you all just shut up for one second? If you don’t shut up, we won’t go anywhere.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Bailey is a bad son but also a bad father. His children, June Star and John Wesley, are rude and ill-bred. However, the most emotional events happen after his death, notably when the Grandmother shouts out, “Bailey Boy!” multiple times.

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June Star

A cute spoiled girl, June Star annoys everyone throughout the story. She is rude to her Grandmother, saying, “She wouldn’t stay at home for a million bucks,” when the Grandmother was the first to get in the car. Later, when Red Sam’s wife compliments her, June Star replies, “I wouldn’t live in a broken-down place like this for a million bucks!”

However, she is a typical teenager whose parents dedicate little time to her education. The mother has a baby and, supposedly, a lot of housework. The father does not care and keeps silent, for the most part, or shouts at the children. The Grandmother can play a bit with the kids, but she is not a good role model, either.

John Wesley

He is an eight-year-old brother of June Star. Not as spoiled as the elder girl, he is still a rather nasty boy. During the trip, he kicks his father’s back through the seat back, finding it extremely funny. Just like his sister, he was excited by the tragic accident and lamented that nobody died. Both of them did not understand the tragedy they got in.

The Children’s Mother

This A Good Man Is Hard to Find character is the least suitable one for an analysis essay. She barely does or says anything throughout the story.

Most of the time, the nameless children’s mother takes care of her baby. She never reprimands her elder children for ill behavior and looks totally backboneless.

When Bailey is taken to the woods, she gets really upset and screams: “Where are they taking him?” But when her turn comes to follow her husband, she does not object.

Bobby Lee

He is one of the two accomplices of The Misfit. He is fat: June Star does not want to hold his hand because he reminded her “of a pig.”

For this character of A Good Man Is Hard to Find, killing people is fun. He is “grinning” most of the time, even when he takes June Star to the woods where she will be shot to death. When The Misfit’s remarks that the Grandmother would benefit if there were someone to shoot her every minute of her life, Bobby Lee considers it to be “some fun.” He looks stupid and evil in his violence.

Hiram

The second accomplice is the thinnest of the three criminals. He knows how to repair cars since The Misfit tells him to see if the family’s car “will run.” Hiram is silent most of the time. Probably, for this reason, he does not seem as silly as Bobby Lee. He was the one to take the mother to the woods and kill her.

Red Sam

According to his own advertisement, he was “the fat boy with the happy laugh” and a veteran. He was the one to say that “a good man is hard to find.” In the Grandmother, he finds a kindred spirit. They spend much time discussing that “people are certainly not nice like they used to be.” Red Sam says that some men did not pay for the petrol. Later the reader finds out that these people were The Misfit and his accomplices.

This is the only person that enjoys the conversation with the old lady in the entire story.

Red Sammy’s Wife

She is a sunburnt woman whose hair and eyes were lighter than her skin. She is responsible for taking orders from the visitors of Red Sam’s restaurant and preparing them. She liked June Star and jokingly asked her to become her daughter, but the girl rudely rejected.

Pitty Sing

The Grandmother takes her cat, Pitty Sing, along with them on the trip, although Bailey was against it. When the Grandmother accidentally lets the cat out of the basket where it was hiding during the entire journey, it jumps onto Bailey’s shoulder and causes an accident. In the end, Pitty Sing rubs against The Misfit’s leg.

The Baby

The baby is scarcely mentioned in the story. His mother holds him most of the time, save one moment when the Grandmother takes him to play on her lap. Her “leathery thin face” is compared to the “smooth bland one” of the baby. When The Misfit orders his men to shoot him, he has “gone to sleep.”

🎓 References

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"Characters." IvyPanda, 20 July 2021, ivypanda.com/lit/a-good-man-is-hard-to-find-study-guide/characters/.

1. IvyPanda. "Characters." July 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/a-good-man-is-hard-to-find-study-guide/characters/.


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IvyPanda. "Characters." July 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/a-good-man-is-hard-to-find-study-guide/characters/.

References

IvyPanda. 2021. "Characters." July 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/lit/a-good-man-is-hard-to-find-study-guide/characters/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Characters'. 20 July.