Flannery O’Connor establishes her style of language from the first sentence. Her voice is apparent throughout the entire story that in turn plays a factor in the delivery of the message. She keeps it real and only says enough to give the reader a mental picture of the situation with usually only providing a short summary leaving a lot of room for imagination. A Good Man Is Hard To Find is full of irony about going to the places of known existence fresh in consciousness without knowing the steps to get there were being taken.
A family finds themselves executed after taking a wrong turn at the wrong time. Executed by the very men they sought to avoid. Point of view is the most crucial component of the substance and progression of the story. It quickly becomes apparent that the seemingly small details are important. The limited omniscient narrator centers mostly on the grandmother. For example, the grandmother is the queen of giving up the foreshadowing irony. The method in which the discourse is played out is key. O’Connor does not show any sympathy towards the characters.
She seems to bring out their worst qualities by exposing their superficialities, which troubles the reader. The apparent cynicism is a key component of giving the story its vibe and meaning. A vacation gone wrong happens to a seemingly good family running into the very thing they sought to avoid. Are there no coincidences? “Tennessee is just a hillbilly dumping ground,” John Wesley said, “and Georgia is a lousy state too. ” “You said it,” June Star said. These people created their own fate without realizing it. The cynical point of view of the author exploits normal human emotion.
The characters seem almost absurd, exaggerated parodies of actual people. This in a sense creates a raw picture of what we are actually like, or at least what O’Connor saw us as. The grandmother dominates the story and it plays well with the progression of the plot. When the grandmother tries to make the vote to change the destination of the vacation she brings in the children who quickly turn it back to her saying, “she wouldn’t stay home to be queen for the day” and “she wouldn’t stay home for a million bucks…afraid she’d miss something.
She has to go everywhere we go. ” This even foreshadows the fact that when the entire family is killed, the grandmother would be soon to follow even though she begs otherwise. Foreshadowing becomes the dominating theme and style. Everything being said was pointing to an untimely, or perhaps quite on time, death. “Toomsboro” is mentioned as the town the family passes right as the grandmother wakes up remembering the old plantation that isn’t in the place she thinks it is. Almost like she wakes up to remember that it’s time to go die.
This term is mentioned right before the family meets their ultimate demise affirming that foreshadowing is the substance of the text. The focus on the grandmother is significant in the sense that she is selfish in the sense that she only thinks about her happiness which was described in the beginning as going wherever the family goes. Examples include bringing her cat that causes the car accident and using methods of persuasion that only work in desperation to get to where she wants. The foreshadowing continues as the car approaching the scene of accident is described as a “big black battered hearse-like automobile. Another image that suggests the impending death of the family is the forest that looms over the ditch that the family is trapped against that is described as “tall and dark and deep. ” The dialogue and statements made by the characters are painfully ironic in the moments leading up to their death. Little June Star saying “but nobody’s killed” with disappointment and the mother suggesting that “maybe a car will come along” seem like such a coincidence yet is totally believable as to the statements one would make in that situation.
When the misfit arrives, the person the family was talking about avoiding yet saying differently with their tones and actions, the focus on the point of view of the grandmother remains. There is a sense of slight confusion as has been there the whole way through when it comes to the logic of the grandmother and is affirmed yet again when she confuses him as one of her own. It is easy to blame it on old age, but looking into it can be rationalized as something deeper- talking about one thing but really saying another.
As each member is taken off into the forest to be shot the tone of the story remains almost calm and in a sense seems like that is the way things are supposed to go. This is the point of view that was created for us. It is a sense of the absurdity of control as well as the lack of control of the events in the universe. The suspense of the climax of the story lasts one sentence, which is the same amount of time it takes the Misfit to end the life of the grandmother. We are left wondering if her final words have left any impact on the actions of the Misfit.
The point of view is then turned to him for the remainder of the story after: 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. Then he put his gun down on the ground and took off his glasses and began to clean them. This is when the Misfit may be considered to have a flicker of human emotion. The significance of his point of view is critical in strengthening the idea that a good man is hard to find as he states “I can’t make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment. He doesn’t see anything wrong with what he is doing because there’s “no real pleasure in life. ” The grandmother’s smile before her death suggests a moment of clarity, or simply happiness because she knows she is going where the rest of the family went- to rot in the forest. A Good Man Is Hard To Find appeals to the emotions of the audience by first setting the focus that this may just be a story about a family taking a vacation. The ending brings much depth to the story of murder. Murder is bound to stir up some sort of emotion and in this sense it is mostly confusion mixed with a feeling of cynicism.
It can be argued that there was a lack of emotion and in a sense all the characters were simply being made fun of by the author. The play on the appeal to logic comes into play when there is a glimpse of a good man when the Misfit reacted to the grandmother’s words a moment before shooting her. This is somewhat of a confusing point as to why the grandmother still felt the need to look into the eyes of the man she knew was about to kill her. Logic suggest that she would have simply asked to be killed knowing what he did to the rest of her family but in a sense all of her talk really did say that.
Perhaps it was the Misfit’s way of playing with her by letting her talk so much only to be saying the same thing the entire time. Point of view of the author holds the progression of the story together. O’Connor’s unsympathetic take on the tragic ending of an entire family proposes that she felt comfortable being a mere observer of life. Even the good are punished so we do what we must to survive. If we step back to view our existence from an ominous point of view we might find the irony that we talk much more than saying the things we actually mean and create for ourselves.