Use of Symbolism and Foreshadowing in Flannery O'Connor's a Good Man Is Hard to Find

Topics: Flannery O'Connor, Short story, Fiction Pages: 3 (930 words) Published: October 6, 2010
The Use of Foreshadowing and Symbolism in “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
When an author writes a story, he or she will generally use different writing techniques to create the piece. These techniques have the ability to turn a story into something truly unique, as they allow the story to unfold in it’s own way. In the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, author Flannery O’Connor used the techniques of symbolism and foreshadowing throughout the entire piece to create a deeply captivating story, as so many of the details mentioned in the beginning of the story are glimpses of the end.

The foreshadowing in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” can be seen almost immediately. Within the first paragraph, the protagonist known as “the grandmother” argues with her son, Bailey, about taking a trip to Florida. She did not want her son to take her, his wife, and their children to Florida, because there was an escaped murderer headed in that direction. In the story she said “I wouldn’t take my children in any directions with a criminal like that aloose in it.” (O’Connor 495). This is perhaps the most intense use of foreshadowing in the entire story, as it directly applies to the ending of the story, in which the antagonist, an escaped serial killer known as ‘The Misfit’ murders the entire family.

On the second page of the story, the author explains that the grandmother felt it necessary to bring her cat on the trip. The story read, “She was afraid he might brush against one of the gas burners and accidentally asphyxiate himself” (O’Connor 496). This use of foreshadowing is somewhat hidden and ironic. It can be considered that way because at the climax of the story, the grandmother’s cat actually jumped onto Bailey while he was driving, causing a car accident. Had the car accident never occurred, the family would not have been discovered by The Misfit. In hindsight, it can be argued that if the cat were not on the trip, the family would have lived.

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