"A Good Man Is Hard To Find" by Flannery O'Connor.

Essay by iwoopyourass February 2006

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Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is filled with foreshadowing which the first time reader will not grasp, but leaps out of the pages for repeated readers. When first read, the reader does not value the importance of the grandmother charter and her warning. She is thought to just be a rambling, nagging old lady. Even the grandmother does not realize the importance of what she is saying. The grandmother warns of the misfit in the first paragraph of the novel, "'Here this fellow calls himself the Misfit is loose from the federal pen and headed toward Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people."' The first time reader simply sees this warning as the grandmother trying to persuade her son to change the vacation plans to better suit the grandmother's wants. Continuing thru the story the first time reader sees the grandmother as a not very smart woman, and she really is not very smart.

She proves this by leading her family on a wild goose chase, looking for a house that is in a completely different state. Later on in the novel while the family is having lunch at a dinner the grandmother returns to the idea of the Misfit.

"'Did you read about the criminal, The Misfit, that's escaped?' asked the grandmother." To the first time reader this seems unusual to return to the thought of The Misfit, he was simply a thought at the beginning, so long ago that the reader had all but forgotten him. O'Connor continues on with the story though, convincing he reader that we probably won't ever hear the name, Misfit, again. To the first time reader the ending of the novel comes at a complete surprise. Who would have thought...