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

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What are two examples of foreshadowing in "A Good Man is Hard to Find"?  

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When the family stops at Red Sammy’s BBQ place for lunch, Red Sammy and the grandmother talk over their shared values and disdain for contemporary attitudes and mores. Despite the fact that Red Sammy does not seem like a “good man”—he speaks harshly to his wife (and he does so in front of strangers), he keeps a monkey tied to a tree, and he is dirty and unkempt—he has lots of ideas about what makes a good man and what does not. He says to the grandmother, “These days you don’t know who to trust,” and the grandmother replies, “People are certainly not nice like they used to be.” These would seem to foreshadow what happens later with the Misfit and his cronies. One would hope that anyone stopping by a car that’s been in a wreck is doing so to offer help, but this is not the case; the family cannot trust the men who stop, and those men are certainly not good.

In the car, as they are driving, the grandmother asks to stop at a house she once knew, and she entices the...

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Two examples of foreshadowing in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" are the reference to The Misfit's car as a hearse and the grandmother's calling out to her son, Bailey, while seemingly addressing the Misfit.

In the first example, the family is sitting in the ditch recovering from the shock of the accident when another vehicle pulls up to the scene. The narrator describes the vehicle as "a big black battered hearse-like automobile". The likening of the car to a hearse foreshadows the deaths of the family members and The Misfit's connection to those deaths. The unusual description of a hearse, quite literally a vehicle of death, is an especially strong example of foreshadowing because it immediately catches the attention of the reader. As an author, O'Connor generally chooses her details very deliberately, so her likening of the automobile to a hearse is the first clue that death will ultimately occur by the end of the story.

A second example of foreshadowing involves the relationships between the grandmother, her son, and The Misfit. After her son, Bailey, has been led away to the woods by The Misfit's minions, the grandmother begins calling out his name, "Bailey Boy", but "her head cleared for a minute" and "she found she was looking at The Misfit squatting on the ground in front of her". She called out to her son, but her words seem to be ultimately directed at The Misfit since he is whom she is looking at. This small detail appears to be irrelevant at first, but makes sense as a moment of foreshadowing when only a few pages later she exclaims to The Misfit, "Why you're one of my babies! You're one of my own children". In her delusion, she claims the murderer in front of her as her own son while her real son lies dead off in the woods. Her initial eye contact with The Misfit as she cried out for Bailey foreshadows this moment at the end of the story where she recognizes the humanity of the man in front of her and claims him as her own son.