What elements of this story are considered to be interesting by most people?

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One of the most interesting aspects of "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is the use of foreshadowing. Of course, the story ends with the family's deaths at the hands of escaped convicts, including a man referred to as "the Misfit." At the beginning of the story, it is clear that the grandmother does not want to visit Florida, precisely because of news reports involving "the Misfit," a murderer at large in that state. "The Misfit" looms large across the story and is viewed by the grandmother and other characters, particularly the proprietors of a barbecue restaurant the family visits, as evidence that society is declining to the point that "a good man is hard to find."

Another interesting dynamic in the story is the relationship between the grandmother and the rest of the family. Far from a loving (and beloved) matriarch, she bickers constantly with her son Bailey, his wife, and two of their three children (her grandchildren). One of the children, an eight-year-old boy, disrespectfully asks his grandmother, "If you don’t want to go to Florida, why dontcha stay at home?” At the same time, the fateful decision to leave the highway—a choice that dooms the family—stems from the children's desire to see an old house the grandmother mentions.

Finally, another interesting aspect of the story (present in almost all of O'Connor's works) is irony. In the end, it is obvious that the title is the ultimate irony, because the "Misfit" who has the entire family murdered is the first person that seems to meet much of the grandmother's criteria for being a "good man" in that he is outwardly polite. Indeed, just before he shoots the woman, she observes that "you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!" These elements, along with O'Connor's renowned gift for dark humor, have earned "A Good Man is Hard to Find" a place among the greatest works in Southern literature.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 24, 2020
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