Suggest a possible thesis and outline for a literary element used in the story "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor. 

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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor has become a classic American Horror story.  It is surprising since O'Connor came from a southern home and was reported to be a rather genteel lady.  It is only a reminder that '"still waters run deep."

If a thesis is needed concerning a literary element of the story, the  element of foreshadowing would be the choice of this educator. 

Everything about the story leads to the terrifying incident of the encounter with The Misfit.  

A possible thesis might say: The literary element of foreshadowing  deceptively leads to the reader's meeting with "The Misfit."

The foreshadowing might be indicated by characters; however, it is the grandmother who offers the  most clues in the story.  

Foreshadowing elements: 

  • The newspaper article that describes The Misfit and his escape from the prison.  He like the family are going to Florida.
  • The hiding of the cat which causes the wreck which leads to the "encounter."
  • The grandmother dressed up in case anyone saw her dead in the streets.
  • The grandmother points out a graveyard which was once a family burying site. 
  • Red Sammy Butts tells the family that you do not know who you can trust.
  • The pass a town named Toombsboro...a pun for  the word Tomb...
  • It is the grandmother's idea to go off the highway to find the planation that she had once visited. 
  • The grandmother stops the car containing the criminals.
  • The grandmother recognizes The Misfit.

All of these incidences led to the death of the entire family. 

I. Introduction

    A. Attention Getter--Some interesting quotation that indicates the importance of the foreshadowing to the story.

    B. Define foreshadowing

    C. Give the thesis--Throughout the story "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," foreshadowing provides clues which predict the demise of the grandmother and her family.

II. First supporting point

The newspaper article which leads to the grandmother's recognition of The Misfit....




III. Second supporting

There are several references to death throughout the story.




IV. Third supporting point




V. Conclusion

Refer back to the importance of foreshadowing in the story.  Be sure to use different words.  Then, find a critique or a great quotation from the story that leaves the reader with something to think about after reading the essay. 

Here is a possible example:

The grandmother had the peculiar feeling that the bespectacled man was someone she knew.  His face was as familiar to her as if she had known him all her life but she could not recall who he was.  He moved away from the car and began to come down the embankment...

The grandmother shrieked.  She scrambled to her feet and stood staring. "You're The Misfit!"

Without her recognizing The Misfit, the family might have had a chance to survive.  This is one time the old lady should have kept her mouth shut.

Read the study guide:
A Good Man Is Hard to Find

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