She reached out and touched him on the shoulder. The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest (Inside Literature 1204). A Good Man Is Hard to Find, by Flannery OConnor, is a story of a familys vacation trip to Florida. On their way to Florida, because of the Grandmothers insistence to search a false hidden treasure they head off to a deserted dirt road where they have car accident. The only ones that see them is a group of man who end up killing the whole family because one of them is recognized by the Grandmother as the Misfit, a man who committed a crime and is being chased by the cops. Flannery OConnors story is filled with foreshadowing and irony.
Foreshadowing is used throughout the story. In the beginning of the story when the grandmother tells her son that they cannot go to the state of Florida because the Misfit is headed that way, the readers get an idea that the family will at some point meet with this man. Also when we see how the Grandmother is dressed for a long road trip, Her collar and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady (Inside Literature 1192), we can predict that an accident will happen and perhaps even death. Another part where we can anticipate something happening is when we find out that the Grandmother secretly takes Pitty Sing the cat with them, even though she knows that her son does not like to arrive at a motel with a cat. Eventually, Pitty Sing is the main cause of the car accident.
The idea that in the whole state the family could run into this one particular man is completely absurd, that is why when it actually comes true it is so ironic. The first obvious irony, as I stated before, is the implication that they could possibly run into this one man out of over a million people in the state of Florida. Another visible irony is that the entire reason the family had the accident causing them to meet up with the Misfit is because of the grandmothers cat that she brought along. Also, the grandmother begged her son to take her to an old house where she used to work, but the house she was referring to was not even in Georgia it was in Tennessee. The most tragic irony of all is when the grandmother tells the man that he is the Misfit, which forces him to kill the entire family so they cannot give any information to the authorities. The entire story is based upon irony, the Grandmother did not want to go to Florida with the only purpose of avoiding this murderer, but then she leads them directly to him and practically makes him kill them all.
A Good Man Is Hard to Find has many themes. One of them is that we have to learn not to be selfish. It is the selfishness of the Grandmother that leads the entire family into danger. When the grandma tells her son about the murderer that is heading to Florida and that she could not answer her conscious if something happened to the kids. It is not because she does not want to put her family in danger, but because she wants Baily to change his mind and take them to Tennessee instead. Curiously, she is put in the situation of trying to answer her conscious when she is confronted with Mistif by telling him that he is a good man and that he must come from a good family. The Grandmother knows that he is not a good man, but still her conscious is killing her because her selfishness lead the family into that road which supposedly lead to a house that initially only she wanted to see.