In “A Good Man is Hard to find” by Flannery O’Connor, one is struck by the unexpected violence at the end of the story. However, if the story is read a second time, reader can see definite signs of foreshadowing that hints to the ending of the story. Through O’Connor’s technique of strong imagery to foreshadow the people and the events in the story is very compelling. There are two significant times that she uses this technique. They are the description of the grandmother’s dress and the graveyard.
The story begun with the grandmother not wanting to go to Florida, but Tennessee where she has some friends to see. She ironically dresses in her Sunday best. She is dressed very nicely with, “A navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print. Her collars and cuffs were white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet”(382). A strong foreshadowing imagery can be seen in this line. Knowing the ending of the story, the grandmother’s elaborate dress symbolizes a preparation for her funeral. When a person die, he or she usually are dressed in their best outfit, just like the grandmother is dressed in what seems to be her Sunday best.
Secondly, the foreshadowing of the family’s death is the graveyard when they “passed by a cotton field with five or six graves fenced” (383). It is not an accident that the numbers of graves “five or six” matches the exact number of people in the car. Though there are five people and a baby, it is evident that a baby is not a full person. So, it is appropriate to say that the number of graves is five or six.
In conclusion, it is hard to grasp the true meaning of the story unless the story is read a second time because of the author’s style of writing. For example, Flannery O’Connor ‘s usage of strong imagery such as the grandmother’s dress and the graveyard to foreshadow the ending of “A Good Man is Hard to Find”. Although her foreshadowing images are both strong and difficult to see, it does not spoil the ending of the story at first.