"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" as written by and Sufjan Stevens....
Once in the backyard,
she was once like me,
she was once like me.
Twice when I killed them,
they were once at peace,
they were once like me.

Hold to your gun, man,
and put off all your peace,
put off all the beast.
Paid a full of these, I wait for it,
but someone's once like me.
She was once like me.

I once was better.
I put off all my grief.
I put off all my grief.
So I go to hell, I wait for it,
but someone's left me creased.
Someone's left me creased.

Lyrics submitted by EvilPopkin

"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" as written by Sufjan Stevens

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentSome evidence from O'Connor's story that Sufjan is writing from the perspective of The Misfit:

    "[The Misfit] had a long creased face and didn't have on any shirt or undershirt." [i.e., "Someone's left me creased"]

    I think this song conveys The Misfit's disturbance and incomplete resignation that he must be the instrument of "peace" - in the sense of transcendence following spiritual shock, as opposed to complacency, which "peace" also means at times in the song - for others while remaining unfulfilled himself.

    In spurning the grandmother's radical Christian gesture, The Misfit also "puts off all his peace" anew. Previously, his lifestyle had challenged his own (and others') complacency; at that moment, he chooses to joylessly transform his victims (or not), rather than allow himself to be transformed into "peace."

    From O'Connor's story:

    "She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

    "Some fun!" Bobby Lee [his accomplice] said.

    "Shut up, Bobby Lee," The Misfit said. "It's no real pleasure in life."

    Sufjan Stevens imagines in this song that, after their encounter, The Misfit continues to be troubled by the double meaning of "peace," the transformative power of violence, and his own proximity to/involvement in (his victim's) salvation.

    For whatever reason, I empathize with Sufjan's "A Good Man" but not "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." I guess it's easy enough to understand wanting faith but rejecting it because faith is a monumental, complicated burden.

    O'Connor's characterization is so powerful because The Misfit is struggling with fundamental questions - the meaning of life and Christ's sacrifice - and ultimately with having provided meaning to another that he himself lacks, a kind of self-sacrifice.
    mochajason October 07, 2006   Link

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