A Good Man Is Hard To Find

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A Good Man Is Hard To Find

The foreshadowing effect in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"
To foreshadow is to give a hint or a suggestion of a forthcoming event. Flannery O'Connor
uses the foreshadowing effect adequately in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." There were many
hints and suggestions that something unpleasant was going to happen in this story. The
moment the grandmother first speaks of the misfit, we can assume he will show up later in
the story because he is headed in the same direction as the family. Close to the ending,
when the gunshots are heard from the woods, we can assume that the situation cannot get
much worse.

The first hint of trouble comes early in the story before the first paragraph ends. The
grandmother tries to show Bailey a newspaper article about The Misfit, who has escaped the
penitentiary and is headed toward Florida. The grandmother tries to discourage Bailey from
taking the family to Florida again by telling him he ought to take the children somewhere
else for a change, but he disregards his mother and they go on the trip anyway. The
probability that an escaped convict is headed in the same direction as Bailey and his
family suggests havoc is coming their way.

O'Connor describes how the grandmother is dressed and says, "In case of an accident,
anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady"(221). In my
opinion, this phrase suggests that the grandmother could be involved in an accident
further into the story. Also, the grandmother cautions Bailey about driving too fast, so
this makes me think he is speeding; consequently, this could lead to an accident.

The family arrives at Red Sammy's, so they go inside and are seated at a table. Red Sam
comes inside and sighs, "You can't win" he said, "You can't win"(224), and then he goes on
to say, "These days you don't know who to trust."(224). The grandmother agrees with Sam
and seems to invite a conversation on the topic of trust with him. The subject of trust
comes about, so this leads me to believe that something insidious is going to happen
within the story. When Sam's wife brought the orders to the table, the grandmother asks
the woman about the misfit so the woman comments on how she wouldn't be surprised if the
Misfit attacked the barbecue tower. Whenever the matter of The Misfit is raised again,
this suggests to me that the family will come in contact with him sooner or later.

After the family is back on the road, the grandmother recalls an old plantation that she
had visited when she was a young lady. She and the children manage to persuade Bailey to
turn around and look for the dirt road where the plantation was located. Once on the dirt
road, the situation starts to seem perilous. O'Connor describes the road as hilly with
sudden washes and sharp curves on dangerous embankments. She says, "...the car raced
roughly along in a swirl of pink dust"(226). She also noted that, " The road looked as if
no one had traveled on it in months"(226). In the way O'Connor describes the road, she
lets us know it is a dangerous and deserted one; therefore, leading the reader to believe
that something harmful is going to happen, just as it did.

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