In Flannery O’Connor’s story, a family plans a trip but there is a dispute between the adults on a destination. Bailey and his wife decide they will go to Florida. “The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida. She wanted to visit some of her connections in east Tennessee and she was seizing every chance to change Bailey’s mind.” (O’Connor 611). To convince her family she informs them of a murderer in Florida named The Misfit. On their way to Florida, the grandmother sees a route she recognizes and gives her son Bailey directions. The vacation takes a sudden turn for the worst when Bailey crashes the car and the family is stuck on a back road waiting for help. After some time help arrives, which was the misfit himself accompanied by two of his buddies. The members of the family excluding the grandmother walked to the forest and died one by one. The grandmother says to the misfit, “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” (O’Connor 622). She reaches out and touched him on the shoulder.
“Therefore, it can be ascertained that the grandmother is more concerned with her own affairs without regard to other family members, even though in fact she also cares about her son and grandchildren.” (Hani 345). The grandmother, who had shown very little maternal feelings finally becomes a mother. Not having demonstrated any expression of love, she gushes with love to a stranger that murdered her family. She had been selfish but now opens herself up to another person in an ecstasy of selflessness.
The protagonist of O’Connor’s story is the grandmother, she’s the focus of the narrative, the character whose reactions we hear from, as well as the only character who’s head we get inside. “In this story, the grandmother is the main character and plays an important role and has a big influence on the course of the story.” (Hani 345). The opposing force which is often called the antagonist is The Misfit. The conflict begins when the grandmother recalls the plantation nearby. The Misfit arrives and the grandmother endangers her family by revealing the identity of the Misfit. Each member excluding the grandmother is murdered. According to Culpeper, “The conflict in interaction and the discontent among characters help readers to see plot and character developments.” (Bich Thuan 221). The conflict drives the characters and the plot forward because it is the characters going through obstacles that create suspense and tension. Conflict helps the reader analyze the main idea which is not what happens but rather the meaning of what happens.
O’Connor writes from a third-person limited omniscient point of view through the grandmother’s eyes. Flannery O’Connor chose this type of perspective to describe the actions of every character, but only focus on the grandmother’s thoughts and feelings. By using third-person limited point of view, the author can allow the characters to keep their internal thoughts to themselves. In doing so, he allows the reader to create them on their own. “Namely the existence of a mandate or social message that is captured in the literary works of the author who wants to be conveyed.” (Hani 342). This technique is often called third-person subjective.
The family ends up taking a back road into a ditch the grandmother believed led to a plantation. The Misfit does not have any choice but to execute this family, so he does. The Misfit shot her three times in the chest. The story closes with The Misfit telling his buddies, “She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” (O’Connor 622)