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Megan WoodsMrs. ByrdEGL 101325 January 2018Irony in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” “A Good Man is Hard to Find”  by Flannery O’Connor tells a story about the eventful journey a family takes for their family vacation. Grandma fulfills the role as the main character and is a loud, outspoken character, who has no problem expressing her opinion. The story takes place in the old South, providing an explanation for Grandma’s strong traditional views about how the children should act. Throughout the entire story, Grandma consecutively says, “A good man is hard to find.” This does not seem significant, but the bombshell ending shows otherwise. While the ending of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” may seem shocking, with close examination, prior events in the story foreshadow the future ending. Oxford English Dictionary defines irony as “The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous of emphatic effect” (“Irony”). Irony can be used in different forms, but in this story verbal irony is the most common style. Irony is not necessary to a piece of writing, but it adds a humorous effect that keeps the readers intrigued. Irony is the central point of this short story and is portrayed within the plotline. The first usage of irony occurs very early in the story when the old lady is getting dressed for the car ride. She was wearing a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim and a navy blue dress with small white dots. “In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once she was a lady” (O’Connor 357). This occurrence foreshadows the appalling ending, in which she actually does end up dead on the side of the road. The next example of irony in the story comes with Grandma mentioning she did not want to travel to Florida because there a was a misfit on the loose in that area. Visiting old friends was Grandma’s reasoning for a vacation to Tennessee instead of Florida. According to Grandma, Florida is also way too hot and the family has visited there enough; however, she convinces the family to go to Tennessee by expressing the danger of travelling through an area with a misfit on the loose. At the end of the story, a car accident occurs leaving the family stranded on the side of the road. Another vehicle eventually arrives at the scene, containing the misfit and his companions. Since the family’s initial intention was to avoid the misfit, encountering him adds the biggest ironic twist to the end of the story.At several points in the story, Grandma mentions how hard it is to find a good man, but   we soon find out her standards are not very high earn the title of a good man. The first encounter the family has with another person occurs at Red Sammy’s barbecue restaurant. After very little conversation and Red Sammy telling Grandma he gave away free gas to some young men, she immediately labels Red Sammy as a good man. Although she says a good man is hard to find, she seemed to find one pretty quickly. Even after that, the next encounter with another person, who happens to be the misfit, is told by grandma that he is a good man. Despite the fact Grandma asserts a good man is hard to find, the only two men she interacts with on the journey are apparently good men. At one point, she declares the misfit a good man based off of assumptions stating, “Listen, I know you’re a good man. You don’t look a bit like you have common blood. I know you must come from nice people!” (O’Connor 362). Not only are these the only two men she interacts with, but she comes to the assertion they are good men with very little information about each of them. There are many small cases of verbal irony in the story. For instance, while they were travelling through Tennessee, they passed a plantation with six gravestones, foreshadowing the family of six winding up dead at the end of their journey. At another point, Grandma says she remembers visiting an old plantation with a hidden panel filled with silver when she was a little girl on a school field trip. After convincing the family to change their route to an old, dirt road to visit this plantation, Grandma realized about halfway down the plantation she remembered was actually located in Alabama. Even after her realization, she refused to tell the family of her recent discoveries and ultimately causes a car wreck, sealing the fate of the family. June Star, the granddaughter, was very disappointed there was not a death in the car accident; however, little did she know, all of them would end up dead on the side of the road.The most prominent example of irony comes from the title of the story. Grandma is a very self-absorbed character, who seems to only make decisions based off of her own personal desires. She is very quick to judge and very quick to express her opinion. At the end of the story, when she realizes the man who stopped is the misfit, she is more sympathetic than she should be. Grandma tells the misfit she believes he is a good man, but she does not know him at all. He even explained all the horrible things he did to deserve prison, for he believes he is misunderstood and does not deserve to go to prison. When reading the ending, Grandma’s determination that he is a good man can be interpreted two ways. It may appear to readers she was doing whatever it took to survive, but considering her consistent actions throughout the story, it is easy to conclude she actually does believe he was a good man. Even though she comes to the conclusion he is a good man, he chooses not to spare her life. Even the final moments on the timeline of the story contain irony. At the end, Grandma finally sees the good in someone else. She talks to him about salvation and all the things God did. All he has to do is pray. In her last moment, Grandma finally finds the good in a human, other than herself; however, her good deed is not repaid with being able to live. “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” (O’Connor 366). Grandma does not actually believe he is her son, but she sees the relation to the misfit and her son. In that moment, she sees they are not that different. Even though her compassion results in bullets to the chest, Grandma’s ironic change from self-obsession creates the ironic ending to tie the story together.In conclusion, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is a story that portrays a horrific story as a irony filled, comedic tragedy. Grandma is the main character, who lives a selfish life that results in an ironic ending. Though reading the story once may depict the family’s journey as horrific, through further analysis, it is easy to determine the ironic clues that foreshadowed the surprising ending. Works CitedO’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2014, 356-366.”Irony| Definition of control in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxforddictionaries, Web 25 January 2018

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