Irony and Foreshadowing in Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find

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As I read Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, I find myself being completely consumed by the rich tale that the author weaves; a tragic and ironic tale that concisely and precisely utilizes irony and foreshadowing with expert skill. As the story progresses, it is readily apparent that the story will end in a tragic and predictable state due to the devices which O’Connor expertly employs and thusly, I find that I cannot stop reading it; the plot grows thicker with every sentence and by doing so, the characters within the story are infinitely real in my mind’s eye. As I consider these factors, the story focuses on two main characters; that of the grandmother, who comes across as self-centered and self-serving and…show more content…
Two more pertinent points are made by the author, in regards to the grandmother, follow in quick succession; both allude to further yet-to-be seen gloom within the story. O’Connor writes of the grandmother “[s]he didn’t intend for the cat to be left alone in the house for three days because he would miss her too much and she was afraid he might brush against one of the gas burners and accidentally asphyxiate himself” (1043) and of the way she is dressed “[i]n case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady” (1043). These two observations are innocent enough on the surface but provide true intent on the foreshadowing that O’Connor uses throughout the story. It is these two devices, irony and foreshadowing, that I feel are prominent and important aspects of the story and are evidenced in my quest to decipher this story. To begin with, it is important to note that O’Connor was a writer that utilized aspects of foreshadowing to tell her stories. In an article by Marita Nadal entitled Temporality and Narrative Structure in Flannery O’Connor’s Tales, the writer notes “O’Connor is considered a visionary writer and also ‘a comedian of genius’ who recurrently resorts to distortion and excess” (25). This is certainly seen throughout the story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, namely through the events that the grandmother appears to foreshadow. Nadal elaborates upon this when she notes
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