The short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” by Flannery O’Connor, is filled with symbolism. In short stories symbolism is the literary device that helps the reader see the picture and actions in their own minds. Whether it be from characters’ names or the the characters’ shirts, every detail in this story has a purpose. I firmly believe that people reap what they sew. In the story, ” A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” the grand mother is a prime example of this scenario. Her pathetic ploys and acts of deviance cause harm to the family throughout the story and it ends up coming back to her in the end. You can tell that harms is inevitable for the family by some of the clues that are found in the grandmother’s behavior.
The use of symbolism in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” created a story which seemed to follow a classic model for tragedy. A strong foreshadowing imagery can be read into these lines. Knowing the definite ending of the story, the grandmother’s elaborate dress symbolizes a preparation for her coffin. When a person dies, they usually are dressed in their best outfit, just like the grandmother was dressed in what seemed to be her Sunday best. A stronger foreshadowing is when O?Connor states the reason for the grandmother?s immaculate dress, “in case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady.” She herself predicts her own death. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know this yet. It is interesting that in the grandmother’s mind wearing her best clothes prevent any misgivings about her status as a lady IF she was to die. But as the Misfit later points out, “there never was a body that gave the undertaker a tip.” The grandmother’s perceived readiness for death is a stark contrast to her behavior when she encounters the Misfit; for she shows herself to be the least prepared for death.