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This sickening adherence to just about every stereotype of the old South that the grandmother represents is part of what makes her a grotesque character.In fact, every member of the family is grotesque in some way; the children by their over-the-top rudeness and lack of manners, the father by his intense, simmering anger paired with a bright, happy-looking parrot shirt, the mother by her lack of personality or character—and, of course, the Misfit by his complete lack of regard for anything or anyone.
The short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” stands as the American Southern Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor’s most disturbing work of fiction.
“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” is the title work of O’Connor’s debut collection of short stories which appeared in 1955, and the piece remains her signature short story (Kinney 1).
This is not a delightful portrait of the south or a southern family—it is a critique.
The use of foreshadowing is one of the most-used literary devices in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and instances of foreshadowing range from very direct (constant mentioning of the Misfit and how dangerous he is even though no one has any idea where he is) and smaller uses.
Her son’s reluctance, in her mind, remains a simple obstacle to overcome in her desire to get things done her way.
Even though Bailey’s “jaw was as rigid as a horseshoe” in response to her goading, the grandmother does not relent (O’Connor 5).
All of the things that we occupy ourselves with, that we find important in the moment, are really nothing.
I’m not trying to depress you here or anything (although if you read the story you’re probably already feeling a little depressed) but in many ways it seems that O’Connor goes through such great lengths to detail the journey so that she can build character profiles and also so that she can show just how grimly meaningless many of the small things we concern ourselves with are in the grand scheme of things.
Everything in this story works together to create a mood and part of this mood, this tone in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is very much based on foreshadowing, especially after the family crashes.
Notice that the car approaches slowly to “help” them and that it looks like a hearse.