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A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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A Good Man Is Hard To Find

The use of foreshadowing in a piece of literature can greatly affect how its story plays out. In "A Good Man is Hard to Find," Flannery O'Connor's use of foreshadowing really adds a different element to her story. In a sense, the discovery made by the grandmother can be predicted before it actually happens. The journeys made throughout this story display how characters in literature can be dynamic and undergo change. By tracing the foreshadowing used in this story, I am able to analyze the journeys and discoveries of the characters.

Foreshadowing is used quite often in this story. With that being said, it is not surprising that the first sentence foreshadows something. O'Connor writes, "The grandmother didn't want to go to Florida" (117). This statement gives the reader the initial knowledge that if the grandmother had her way at the beginning, she never would have been put in the situation that took her and her family's lives. This opening sentence only marks the beginning of the foreshadowing used by the author. Just four sentences later, the grandmother explains that The Misfit is loose and headed towards Florida. The whole paragraph foreshadows that the family will probably encounter him during their journey. Ironically, it was stated that the grandmother was the first one in the car the next day. By explaining that fact, O'Connor is developing the grandmother's character as her being a hypocrite. Although she predicted the encounter would happen, she did not argue against the trip. Later in the story, a character says, "I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he didn't attack this place right here." This acknowledgement clearly demonstrated foreshadowing because what the character predicted was exactly what happened. While O'Connor is setting up the story with imagery, she writes, "The trees were full of silver-white sunlight and the meanest of them sparkled" (119). This quote, particularly the 'silver-white sunlight' gives the reader an image of heaven. This image is foreshadowing religious undertones and the possibility of characters dying. When the family is driving, O' Connor writes, "They passed a large cotton field with five or six graves fenced in the middle of it, like a small island" (119). This description is foreshadowing the death of the family because it had six members including the grandmother, the baby, the mother, June Star, John Wesley, and Bailey. Next, O'Connor utilizes the title of the story by writing a dialogue by Red Sam; "A good man is hard to find" (122). The use of the title can be read as foreshadowing because of the prior mentions of The Misfit. If the title of the story is "A Good Man is Hard to Find," the famous criminal is currently loose in Florida, and the family is on a trip to visit Florida, the reader can most likely predict that the family will encounter The Misfit.

The journey that the family members take part in is the journey between life and death. The Misfit's body language when he initially encounters the grandmother foreshadows something. O' Connor writes, "The Misfit pointed the toe of his shoe into the ground and made a little hole and then covered it up again" (127). When he makes this gesture, he is obviously referring to the burial of a dead body. This encounter starts the journey to death because it is made clear that the family would have been better off if the grandmother didn't recognize The Misfit. Each character was sent on their own journey. Once Bailey realized that the journey to death has started, he cursed at his mother for essentially causing it. Bailey's journey is never really displayed because he had no further dialogue after he was taken to the woods. The last dialogue read from him shows that he is in denial about what is happening. He shouts to his mother, "I'll be back in a minute, Mamma, wait on me!" (O' Connor 128). Later on, when the mother realized that there was no hope for survival, the reader can sense her character giving up. O'Connor

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