As the story begins, The Granny is complaining about going on a journey to Florida; she ‘d rather check out pals in east Tennessee. She worries aloud to the rest of the family, Bailey (her child), his partner, June Star and John Wesley, their kids, and the infant, about The Misfit, whom she has actually read about in the newspaper. The Misfit is a serial killer who has actually escaped from the Federal Penitentiary and is on the loose.
The next early morning, the family sets out on the journey. They stop at The Tower for barbecued sandwiches, where the owner, Red Sammy Butts, and his better half wait on them. The Grandmother and Red Sammy commiserate about the current state of the world, complaining that you can not rely on anyone nowadays. He narrates about how he provided two guys gas on credit; plainly he has actually been benefited from and regrets his decision.
As they set off once again, The Granny keeps in mind an old plantation that she thinks used to be in this area. Bailey does not want to take a detour to go discover it, so The Grandmother makes up a lie about how there are secret doors in the house with surprise treasure; this makes June Star and John Wesley shout and complain up until their father agrees reverse and drive down the dirt driveway. Nevertheless, after they have actually been driving for a while, The Granny understands that the old plantation is really no place around there at all. Her response causes the cat to escape from its box and get on Bailey’s shoulder, and he drifts off the roadway.
The vehicle has turned over and is in a ditch. Another automobile methods, and from out of it climb up The Misfit, Bobby Lee, and Hiram. The Grandma acknowledges The Misfit, and he responds to, “it would have been better for all of you, woman, if you hadn’t of reckernized me.” She begins to discuss how The Misfit is clearly not of “typical blood,” and how he should “come from nice individuals,” lovely him. But he calmly orders Bobby Lee and Hiram to take Bailey and John Wesley into the woods, and quickly gunshots ring out as they are murdered,
As The Granny advises The Misfit to hope to Jesus, Hiram and Bobby Lee return from the woods dragging Bailey’s yellow shirt with brilliant blue parrots on it, and The Misfit puts it on. Then Bobby Lee and Hiram nicely assist up The Mom and June Star to take them back into the woods, too. The Grandmother begins to stress and resumes attempting to persuade The Misfit to find Jesus. She repeats, “I understand you originate from good individuals! Hope! Jesus, you ought not to shoot a lady.” Then she bargains with him, offering all her money to save her life.
When The Grandmother hears the handgun shots that reveal the deaths of the rest of her family deep in the woods, she cries out, “Bailey Boy!” for her son. The Misfit advises her that nobody has actually raised the dead except for Jesus, and suggests that Jesus shouldn’t have actually done that: the only satisfaction he discovers in life is “meanness.” He reveals his lack of faith in God by stating that he can’t think Jesus even raised the dead, given that he wasn’t there to see it, and blames this absence of knowledge for how he has turned out.
Discovering he looks like he will sob, The Grandma weeps out, “Why you are among my infants. You are among my own children!” and touches him on the shoulder. The Misfit reacts by shooting 3 shots into her chest and killing her. Hiram and Bobby Lee come back from eliminating The Mother, June Star, and the child, and The Misfit remarks that in reality, there is no genuine pleasure in life at all.
The title of the story, “A Great Guy Is Difficult to Find,” echoes Red Sammy Butts in his conversation with The Grandma. The skepticism of others in basic is a continuing style throughout O’Connor’s short stories, and in her discussion with Red Sammy Butts, The Grandmother validates her belief in this idea: “It isn’t a soul in this green world of God’s that you can rely on.” This belief contradicts her Christian faith, of course, but in the end her Christian faith results in the accomplishment of Grace.
Grace, an important style to O’Connor, is offered to both The Granny and The Misfit, neither of whom is particularly deserving. As she recognizes what is occurring, The Grandmother begins to ask The Misfit to pray so that Jesus will help him. Right before The Misfit kills her, The Grandmother calls him among her own children, acknowledging him as a fellow human efficient in being saved by God’s Grace. Despite the fact that he murders her, the Misfit is implied to have accomplished some level of Grace too when he ends the story by saying, “It’s no real satisfaction in life.” Previously in the story, he declared the only satisfaction in life was meanness.
The glorification of the past prevails in this story through the character of The Granny, who reveals fond memories for the way things utilized to be in the South. Her mistake about the “old plantation that she had visited in this area once when she was a young lady” results in the demise of the whole household when they get in a cars and truck mishap while driving down the dirt driveway. Before she recognizes that the plantation is really not in Georgia but in Tennessee, she keeps in mind “the times when there were no paved roads and thirty miles was a day’s journey,” picturing the beautiful scene she believes they will soon discover.
Eyes are a crucial sign in much of O’Connor’s narratives, and here they suggest a character’s state of mind. The Grandmother’s eyes are brilliant as she listens to “The Tennessee Waltz” on the jukebox at The Tower. As Bailey makes a single effort to argue with The Misfit prior to he is led into the woods to be eliminated, his eyes are described as “blue and intense.” After they hear the gunshots that signal the deaths of Bailey and John Wesley, The Mom and June Stars’ eyes are “glassy.” After he eliminates The Grandmother and eliminates his glasses, “The Misfit’s eyes were red-rimmed and pale and defenseless-looking.”
Bigotry is a small theme in “An Excellent Guy Is Tough to Find:” The Grandmother exposes her racism when she discusses the child the household observes out the window: “Little niggers in the nation don’t have things like we do,” calling him a “charming little pickaninny.” Though she feigns empathy for the plight of blacks, her sensations towards them are plainly racist.
As in a lot of O’Connor’s story, the sky is pointed out as a sign of the characters’ state of minds. Right after The Granny recognizes The Misfit, he comments, “Don’t see no sun however don’t see no cloud neither,” suggesting that their fates have not yet been chosen. But after Bailey and John Wesley have been murdered, as The Mom and June Star are being led into the woods as well, The Grandmother notifications that “there was not a cloud in the sky nor any sun,” and now it shows that she has nothing from which to get her bearings: “there was absolutely nothing around her however woods.” There is no hope.