Style in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"

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Flannery O'Connor's style in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" helps create the story of a dysfunctional family's summer vacation gone wrong. O'Connor's use of dark humor, foreshadowing, and imagery helps communicate the story's main theme: people in today's society treat others with little or no respect, unlike past times. The story takes place in Georgia, where a family of six is about to leave on a vacation to Florida. The grandmother wants to go to Tennessee and tries to convince her son Bailey and the rest of the family to go as well, but no one seems to listen to her or care about her opinion. On the way to Florida, grandmother remembers an old plantation she used to visit from her youth, and the family drives down an old dirt road to see it. They get in an automobile accident and an escaped criminal called the Misfit and his accomplices come upon the family and murder them. As grandmother tries to convince the family to go to Tennessee, she is referred to as "old lady" which seems to give her a senile-like quality. She tries to persuade Bailey and his wife by telling them about the Misfit. She tells the young couple that she "wouldn't take my children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn't answer to my conscience if I did" (1031). However, Bailey doesn't even "look up from his reading" and the "children's mother didn't seem to hear her" (1031). It is this type of insolent disregard for one another that gets the family into trouble, and ultimately leads to their death.

As the family leaves for Florida, grandmother seems quite cheerful although Bailey has gone against her wishes; she cautions him of the speed limit and she points out interesting details of the scenery, but "the children were reading comic magazines and their mother had gone to sleep" (1032). Although grandmother tries to make the trip as interesting as possible, the little boy, John Wesley, adamantly says, "Let's go through Georgia fast so we don't have...
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