What is a good conclusion for "A Good Man is Hard to Find" that follows from the foreshadowing?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since the foreshadowing of Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" includes the mention of the Misfit and the fact that the grandmother "wouldn't stay at home to be queen for a day," [a reference to an old television program that awarded women gifts and travel], it would challenge the credibility of a conclusion not to have the grandmother and the Misfit in it. However, it does some plausible that the agent of grace can remain the Misfit, but the recipient can be other than the grandmother. 

Still, verisimilitude with O'Connor usually calls for grace to be received within violent circumstances. Perhaps, then, the setting of this violence could be changed to Red Sammy's restaurant where the grandmother utters the same banal phrase to Red Sam as she does the Misfit latter in the narrative: "...you're a good man." 

When Red Sam replies, "Yes'm I suppose so"...as if he were struck with this answer" there would seem to be a credible indication that Sam is going to be confronted with the opportunity to exhibit an act of faith.  So, an ending can be formed after the grandmother and her family depart. Then, as they drive along the "hearse-like car" passes them, heading toward Red Sammy's Famous Barbecue. As this car nears the restaurant, flames shoot out from the kitchen. 

"Now, that ain't s'pose to happen," the Misfit says. "Let's see what we can git."

Pulling the car to a stop in the lot, the three men jump out and find Red Sam and his wife running from the flames. Suddenly, Sam and his wife are halted by guns pointed at them. Red Sam's wife screams and begs them to help control the fire or get help. But, the Misfit asks Sam where his "happy laugh" is now.

"How's 'bout you rescuin' some'sat barbecue and feedin' us?" he demands at gunpoint.

Sam replies, "Look, Ah just been told that  Ah'm a good man, but I don't know as I kin do this."

With a dark, sinister look, the Misfit shouts, "Now, look! We's hungry and it is nothin' to us if you is scared. You go git us some meat, y'hear?"

It is at this point, then, that a similar ending can be constructed in which Red Sam is the victim of the Misfit's violence and he, like the grandmother who has not exhibited real faith until the gun is pointed in her face, can have the same conversion to true faith. Thus, he can receive the grace to die as a martyr, saving his wife from this fate because the Misfit orders the others into the car, saying, "No pleasure, but meanness--let's go! The police may have heard this shot!"

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

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