Irony And Foreshadowing In Flannery O’connor’s A Good Man Is Hard To Find

2075 words - 8 pages

As I read Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, I find myself being completely consumed by the rich tale that the author weaves; a tragic and ironic tale that concisely and precisely utilizes irony and foreshadowing with expert skill. As the story progresses, it is readily apparent that the story will end in a tragic and predictable state due to the devices which O’Connor expertly employs and thusly, I find that I cannot stop reading it; the plot grows thicker with every sentence and by doing so, the characters within the story are infinitely real in my mind’s eye. As I consider these factors, the story focuses on two main characters; that of the grandmother, who comes across as self-centered and self-serving and The Misfit, a man, who quite ingeniously, also appears to be self-centered and self-serving. It is the story behind the grandmother, however, that evidence appears to demonstrate the extreme differences between her superficial self and the true character of her persona; as the story unfolds, and proof of my thought process becomes apparently clear.
With these two divergent personas that define the grandmother, I believe the ultimate success of this story relies greatly upon specific devices that O’Connor incorporates throughout the story; both irony and foreshadowing ultimately lead to a tale that results in an ironic twist of fate and also play heavily on the character development of the grandmother. The first sense of foreshadowing occurs when the grandmother states “[y]es and what would you do if this fellow, The Misfit, Caught you” (1042). A sense of gloom and an unavoidable meeting with the miscreant The Misfit seem all but inevitable. I am certain that O’Connor had true intent behind this seemingly innocent comment made by the grandmother because her objections to the trip destination also demonstrate a sense of premonition. Two more pertinent points are made by the author, in regards to the grandmother, follow in quick succession; both allude to further yet-to-be seen gloom within the story. O’Connor writes of the grandmother “[s]he didn’t intend for the cat to be left alone in the house for three days because he would miss her too much and she was afraid he might brush against one of the gas burners and accidentally asphyxiate himself” (1043) and of the way she is dressed “[i]n case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (1043). These two observations are innocent enough on the surface but provide true intent on the foreshadowing that O’Connor uses throughout the story. It is these two devices, irony and foreshadowing, that I feel are prominent and important aspects of the story and are evidenced in my quest to decipher this story.
To begin with, it is important to note that O’Connor was a writer that utilized aspects of foreshadowing to tell her stories. In an article by Marita Nadal entitled Temporality and Narrative Structure in Flannery...

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