John Wesley, Bailey’s oldest child, is eight years old and, like his younger sister, has plenty of bold and rather rude opinions to share throughout the story. As much as the grandmother’s insistence that the people of the present day are not as polite as they were in the past sounds like pure nostalgia, the children’s behavior does not offer any indication that her assertion is untrue. Right from the beginning of the story, John Welsey challenges his grandmother and speaks aggressively about confronting The Misfit. This behavior only gets worse as he complains about Georgia and Tennessee and lies to his sister in order to win their car game.
At the same time, however, John Wesley does express curiosity about the world around him, and this quality works to remind the reader of the fact that he is still an innocent child. He asks The Misfit, for example, why he has a gun and what he plans on doing with it, clearly oblivious that his life is in danger. This helplessness makes his eventual murder even more sickening. The final interesting detail about John Wesley is that he shares his name with the founder of the Methodist church. This detail, which seems surprising given Flannery O’Connor’s Catholic upbringing, offers the possibility that his family is not Catholic.