A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Symbolism

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A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Symbolism

By | June 2006
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The setting begins in the in the dinning room, where everyone is sitting and reading the newspaper in Atlanta. Because the children are at home and they are about to go on a vacation, the month is June or July. The subsequent significant setting of the story is outside of Toombsboro, on a dirt road, the time is afternoon since the sky is clear with no clouds or any sun. "She reached out and touched him on the shoulder. The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest." Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is the story of a family's vacation tragically ended by a murderer and his gang. After a meddlesome Mother/Mother-In-Law/Grandmother tries to insist that the family go to Tennessee instead of Florida, it was in fact through her own insistence that prompted the family stray from the main path in search of some false, lost treasure. This deadly decision caused the family to fall prey to the Misfit. Foreshadowing at the beginning of the story hints to the reader that while on their trip to Florida, this family is destined to cross paths with the Misfit. For example, "Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is aloose from the Federal Pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people. Just you read it." Through O'Connor's use of characterization, symbolism and the theme that "A Good Man is Hard to Find", O'Connor's point that society's morals and faith has crumbled is conveyed. O'Connor's use of characterization shows the breaking down of respect and discipline in American society. From past generations to present generations, this message can be understood. Grandma represents the past with her strong "Southern Hospitality" heritage. For instance, "The old lady settled herself comfortably, removing her white cotton gloves and putting them up with her purse on the shelf in front of the back window. Her collar and cuffs were white organdy trimmed...