I killed your mother today, and it's because she made me reflect upon myself and see my vulnerability

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"...the Misfit acts under the delusion that his acts are somehow good, i.e. good for him. Since he cannot make sense of his spiritual condition, he now tries to reduce ethical mystery to a perverse pleasure-pain principle. Initially he told the Grandmother: 'No pleasure but meanness.' Yet his encounter with her touch has exposed his need, his human vulnerability. In his crucial final remark, he shifts from the earlier 'No pleasure but meanness' to 'It's no real pleasure in life.'"
(Desmond 136)

Reading this entire article helped me see this story in a more critical way and see the reasons behind the actions and words of the characters. This particular quote and its context really helped me to understand why the Misfit reacted by shooting the Grandmother when she touched him. I didn't think much of it - I thought he just wanted to kill her just to do it - but I should have known better than that (I think all characters do things in literature for a reason). I can see Desmond's argument explaining this action; the Misfit killed her because she related to him, un-Misfiting him. As Desmond quoted in the article, naming is being.

Tell me that I am one of your children and see what happens.

1 Comments

Maddie Gillespie said:

You make an excellent point in this blog. I like the fact that you think that every character performs an act on purpose, does something for a reason. Often times we need not think on it too hard, but great writers like Flannery O'Connor make us work to understand the many facets of a character as well as the why of their actions. Desmond's insight to the Misfit and the manner in which he reacted to the Grandmother's touch really made me think as well. I initially thought the same as you, that he merely wanted to kill her because he wanted to. However, he defined himself as someone out of the ordinary, a guy who never fit in anywhere, and the Grandmother's touch showed him that he was just like everybody else. He simply couldn't take that realization, so his instinctive reaction was to shoot her. No more Grandma. Great blog!

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