A Good Man Is Hard To Find Essay
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, A Good Man is Hard to Find, 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 that this sweat family could ever die such awful deaths. Who would have thought that the grandmother would’ve been right, and that the family actually would have a run in with The Misfit.
When the reader reads the novel for a second time is when all of the foreshadowing leaps from the pages. The reader realizes in just how many ways the grandmother causes her family’s deaths; The grandmother leads her family down the old country road to their deaths.
She brought her cat along which caused the accident. She also tells the Misfit that she recognizes him which leaves him with no choice but to kill the whole family.
It is ironic that the grandmother is the cause of the family’s deaths in many ways, but she also warns of the Misfit several times. These warning where not taken seriously by anyone including the grandmother because they were not meant as warning, but to try to manipulate the family’s travel plans. “There are several instances that point to the fact that she(grandmother) is very manipulative.”(Andra)
The second time reader finds himself or herself yelling at the grandmother with each step the family takes towards their deaths.
Don’t go down that dirt road; leave your cat at home you fool! With the second reading the reader also detects much more of the foreshadowing into the families dark fate. In the opening paragraphs “’Yes and what would you do if this fellow, the Misfit, caught you?”’ Also at the dinner the grandmother’s warning are read in a very different way than the first time.
This is a great novel to read, but must be read more than once for a true appreciation of how well O’Connor fools the reader. By convincing the reader that the family would never run into to The Misfit, and that no harm would ever come to this normal family
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