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Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” Short Summary

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A Good Man is Hard to Find has an interesting third-person narrator that has the ability to tell the story of Bailey and his family. The narrator also controls the actions in the plot and this builds the powers of the protagonist. On that note, the protagonist is Bailey who is compelled to take his family for a summer vacation to Florida away from Georgia. This entourage comprises his wife and children namely John Wesley and June Star. The antagonists, therefore, include the grandmother who is Bailey’s mother and Misfit, a murderer on the run. Bailey’s mother is an antagonist because she is opposed to the vacation at Florida and, instead, prefers Tennessee while the Misfit is an outlaw about to murder the main character’s family (O’Connor 2). Misfit is, thus, a symbolic antagonist because he denotes the eventuality of life and moral decadence in terms of his evil representation. On the other hand, the grandmother is a symbol of caution and wisdom when danger lurks and this is evident when she attempts to deter her son from driving into death.

O’ Connor critically applies both verbal and situational irony to illustrate the impending tragedy of the family. For example, verbal irony is noted when the grandmother continuously regales Bailey’s children in-jokes to distract them from staring outside (O’Connor 3). The murder, however, becomes the situational irony even after Bailey heeds his mother’s advice. Accordingly, the grandmother’s epiphany is mentioning of Misfit as her own child. O’ Connor, thus, suggests that life is twisted when bad things happen to others.

Work Cited
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find. Mason, OH: Springer. 2011. Print.

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