What are the literary devices in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"?

There are a great many literary devices used in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." Perhaps three of the most significant are foreshadowing, which helps to establish a rather ominous mood; epiphany, which allows the grandmother to really understand the Misfit's humanity; and irony, which ends the story on a bittersweet note. The grandmother has developed an understanding of what it really means to be "good," but it is too little and too late.

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Allusion and irony are the two significant literary devices employed by Flannery O'Connor in "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Allusions are references to other works, historical figures, or historical events within a text. One of the earliest ones in this story is when the grandmother refers to Gone with the Wind, a novel about the American South before, during, and after the Civil War. The reference reveals that she has romanticized notions about the South and her place in it as a "lady." However, the bigger allusions are to the New Testament, which the Misfit discusses when he has the grandmother and her family cornered. He refers specifically to the story in which Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, a reference meant to evoke the grandmother's (and possibly the Misfit's own) spiritual rebirth.

Irony might play an even bigger role than allusion, though it does tie in with the story's references to the New Testament. The ironic part about "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is that the grandmother...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1142 words.)

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