Themes & Setting.docx - Themes Good vs Evil"A Good Man is...

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Themes Good vs. Evil "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is a confrontation of between a grandmother with a rather superficial sense of goodness, and a criminal who embodies real evil. The grandmother seems to treat goodness mostly as a function of being decent, having good manners, and coming from a family of "the right people." What a contrast, when the grandmother encounters The Misfit, who seems straightforwardly evil, with little to no sense of guilt, and a genuine desire to do cruel or destructive things for their own sake. Understanding the motivations of The Misfit, and what "goodness" means by contrast, is one of the central puzzles of the story. Questions About Good vs. Evil 1. According to the grandmother, what is a "good man"? Is she sincere when she calls Red Sammy a good man? How about The Misfit? 2. What motivates The Misfit – why does he do what he does? Is he a wholly evil character? Why or why not? 3. Why would The Misfit say he never thinks the punishment fits the crime? Is he genuinely innocent, or does he believe himself to be? Has he forgotten his crimes? Does he have no sense of right and wrong? 4. What does it mean when The Misfit says the grandmother would have been a good woman if he had been there to shoot her every minute of her life? What kind of "goodness" does he have in mind? Is this the beginning of a transformation in The Misfit? Chew on This Try on an opinion or two, starting a debate, or playing the devil’s advocate. The Misfit has no sense of right and wrong, and for this reason doesn't feel any punishment can ever "fit" the crime. The Misfit recognizes the grandmother's final gesture as good, and understands "goodness" to be the unconditional love given by divine grace. Religion The central confrontation between the grandmother and The Misfit in "A Good Man is Hard to Find" revolves around Jesus. The grandmother brings up praying to Jesus in the hope that she can induce The Misfit to spare her life by appealing to his religious sense. It turns out, however, that The Misfit has probably thought about Jesus more seriously than she has. The Misfit's doubt in Jesus leads him to think that there is no real right or wrong, and no ultimate point to life. At the story's climax, the grandmother appears to receive a moment of divine grace, which might transform her and The Misfit. How this ending is understood is the major question of the story. Questions About Religion 1. Is the grandmother a real religious believer? Does she have genuine faith? What evidence can you find either way?
2. Does The Misfit believe in Jesus? If he does, to what degree? If not, why not? 3. Between The Misfit and the grandmother, who seems to have a more solid foundation in faith? 4. Why would The Misfit attach so much importance to the question of whether Jesus did what he's supposed to have done? Why is this an all-or-nothing question for him?

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