Out of the blue Macon recognizes that he is on the brink of insanity. One reason for the change in Macon’s character is his sudden realization of how he failed to use his mental power to repel his pain. Another reason is his realization of the uncultivated emotional strength that he is pushed away from. The changing character of Macon is perplexing to his brother, Charles. Macon responds to Charles’s confusion (Tyler 2002, 228): “I’m more myself than I’ve been my whole life long.”
Before the fated rendezvous with Muriel, Macon is a generous but anxious individual with a traditional sense of decency and refined fairness. Macon is a neurotic, overwhelmed with particular fears about being killed by lead-poisoned canned orange juice. All about him is contained. Even the manner in which he mourns over his deceased son is contained, hence at the surface it appears more like apathy. When his wife wrongly blames him for not truly loving their son and walks out of the restaurant, Macon musters his pride and pushes himself to eat his meal. His wife wants to face their son’s killer. She would force the killer to grasp the terrible nature of his action and afterward would kill him on the spot. Macon, who is not at ease with obsessive sentiments, says to his wife, “We can’t afford to have these thoughts” (Tyler 2002, 21). His wife retorts: “Easy for you to say… pretend it never happened. Go rearrange your wrenches from biggest to smallest instead of from smallest to biggest; that’s always fun” (Tyler 2002, 21). This confrontation is one of the defining roots of Macon’s change, propelling him to the path of Muriel who changes him significantly.
The first meeting of Macon and Muriel is a clash of two completely dissimilar characters, compelling the change in Macon’s character. As Muriel deepens her place in Macon’s heart, he recognizes that, with her bright clothes and flowery fragrance,