A Psychological Comparison: The Misfit in "A Good Man is Hard to find- and the Narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart-.
There are many things we do know about the Misfit in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find- and there are many things we do not know about the narrator of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart."" In "A Good Man is Hard to Find,"" the Misfit is an escaped convict who looks educated, and had apparently killed his own father. He is gray-haired, smart "and chillingly exact. He is also polite, and can kill without much remorse. In "The Tell-Tale Heart,"" is the narrator a relative to the old man? Is he a companion or a servant? While the Misfit continues to be adamant about being wrongfully accused in "A Good Man is Hard to Find- and the narrator's relationship to the old man remains undefined in "The Tell-Tale Heart,"" there is nonetheless one thing of which we can be certain of. They are mad. The Misfit and the narrator's psychological states make these stories more than just thrillers; these stories are an examination of abnormal psychology. An analysis of the Misfit in "A Good Man is Hard to Find- and the narrator in "The Tell-Tale Heart- will provide evidence that the latter is more psychotic than the former. (Not proven yet - can go either way!).
In these stories, the Misfit and the narrator experience sensory surplus. The Misfit mentions twice in the story how children make him nervous. He really loses control when the grandmother "reached out and touched him on the shoulder. The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times in the chest."" (16) The Misfit's heightened sense of touch exhibited through his nervousness reveals his lack of impulse control. In "The Tell-Tale Heart,"" the narrator's tone reveals his mental state. Speaking in broken thoughts, punctuated with dashes and exclamation points, he speculates that some disease has sharpened his senses and made others call him crazy.