O'Connor's Use of Setting to Predict the Outcome in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"

Topics: A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Evil, Family Pages: 3 (1061 words) Published: December 1, 2006
In Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find", setting is used as a way to predict the tragic outcome of the story. The story's end is unexpected when first read, but upon closer inspection one can see several clues and foreshadowing techniques O'Connor used to hint at what would eventually happen, specifically in her use of setting. The outcome of the story is hinted at through the description of the family's scenic drive through Georgia, Red Sammy's, and the deserted road they travel on. The depiction of the family's surroundings while driving through Georgia offers many hints to their tragic deaths. At first it seems the O'Connor is just providing vivid descriptions of the land, but continuing through the story one begins to realise a constant theme within the setting. While driving the family "passed a large cotton field with five or six graves fenced in the middle of it, like a small island" (660). What makes this passage so significant is the fact that there are six people traveling in the car, insinuating that the family will also end up in graves. As if this was not a big enough of a hint, later on in their travels the grandmother recalls an old plantation that she had visited in the neighbourhood of "Toombsboro" (662). Upon hearing this location, the word tomb comes to mind, symbolising death. It is also interesting that she thinks that the old plantation is in this specific town, since her wanting to go to the house is initially what causes the family's untimely end. The run down atmosphere at Red Sammy's gives the reader an eerie and ominous feeling of what is to end up of the family. The first bit of description that is given about Red Sammy's is that it is a tower. Towers are seen as being large and intimidating, and inside is described as being "a long dark room" (661). This gives the impression of Red Sammy's as being dark, dingy, empty, and neglected. This impression is then reinforced by June Star, saying that she "wouldn't live in a broken...
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