A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

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In the story "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," what is significant about the grandmother bringing up the Misfit at the beginning of the story?  

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Rebecca Hope eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The grandmother's mention of the Misfit serves as foreshadowing and irony and adds to the characterization of the grandmother. The grandmother is a manipulative and rather selfish woman who does not have a good relationship with her son, her daughter-in-law, or her grandchildren. The grandmother's purpose for discussing the Misfit reveals her self-centeredness. Although she insists on accompanying her son's family on their vacation, she tries to change their destination. She wants to visit people she knows in Tennessee, so she brings up the Misfit as a reason to persuade her son not to go to Florida. She is being dishonest and manipulative.

The discussion of the Misfit so early in the story, as well as at the gas station, serves to foreshadow the tragedy at the end of the story when the family has a car accident. The Misfit happens to see the accident and takes advantage of the family's misfortune to gain a different vehicle and clothing. The grandmother hints that the Misfit is a frightful...

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Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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