Updated September 10, 2022

Short Stories A Good Man is Hard to Find and Sweat

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Short Stories A Good Man is Hard to Find and Sweat essay
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In O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and Hurston’s “Sweat”, the author’s both utilize the element of foreshadowing to develop the central plot. The classic short story, A Good Man is Hard to Find, centers around a family taking a vacation to Florida. The trip took a turn for the worst, and the family ends up in a ditch. After recovering, the family comes face to face with the misfit, an escaped convict. In Sweat, Hurston’s character, Delia, is faced with the obstacle of being trapped in a marriage with an abusive partner.

However, the traps that were set for her downfall inadvertently was her gain. Both authors use the setting, important minor details, and foreshadowing to emphasize the important events to come. The foreshadowing O’Connor uses to give the story a greater meaning. From the first few lines of the story, O’Connor foreshadows the unfortunate events that will take place. She commences by emphasizing the Grandmothers conviction for the family to avoid heading to Florida. She repeatedly informs her son that going to Florida would be dangerous for the family because of the action of the escaped convict, the misfit. However, her arguments are not compelling enough as the family take the trip nevertheless.

The setting provides very compelling details that foreshadow the unforeseen tragical events to come. The dark forest which in they are traveling provides the tone for the dark twist in the story. While on their journey they come across a graveyard on a plantation which consists of six tombstones. This graveyard foreshadows the inevitable fact that their death might be near. It seems as though they were passing their own graves. The number six, in this context, is also very significant as there are six members of the family. While Red Sammy, the grandmother, and Red Sammy’s wife engage in a conservation about how it is hard to know who to trust, the grandmother brings up the Misfit.

The conversation gets even more intense, when Red Sammy’s wife continues to say that ‘I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he didn’t attack this place right here….. if he hears about it being here, I wouldn’t be none surprised to see him.” This statement forecasts the families soon to be encounter with the Misfit. There nonchalant reaction to the news expresses the fact that their death is inevitable Grandmother brings along her cat “Pitty Sing” which she has to hide because her son, Bailey, does not approve.

The name “Pitty Sing” is significant because in the operetta “The Mikado” a character also names “Pitti Sing” causes someone to be condemned to death. Along the dumpy dirt road she frightens the hidden cat, resulting in Pitty Sing springing onto Bailey’s shoulders while he’s driving, causing him to lose control of their vehicle and turn the car over. This lead to the entrapment of the family which causes the encounter with the Misfit. Along comes the Misfit in what’s described as”… a big black battered hearse-like automobile.” A hearse is a vehicle carrying the dead.

The Misfits vehicle is an indication that he was going to kill the family. The cat created the chain reaction that lead to their death. If pitty Sing was never there, and if the grandmother never startled him, then maybe they wouldn’t have gotten it the car accident. It is also important to note that the town they died in was called Toombsboro, Georgia, which is quite ironic. Much like O’Connor, Hurston uses foreshadowing to give us readers an indication that something is going to happen. Hurston’s, Sweat, tells the story of a woman named Delia who is being abused by her unfaithful husband, Sykes. Much like O’Connor, Hurston begins her foreshadowing earlier on in the story.

While Delia is sorting some clothes, she feels “something long, round, limp, and black fall upon her shoulders and slither to the floor beside her.” Suddenly a great terror took hold of her, that she could almost cry. She then saw that it was this big bull whip that her husband liked to carry when he drove. Sykes begins to laugh and Delia proceeds to scold at him, yelling”…..an’you knows how skeered Ah is of snakes.”

This is a fear Sykes will use to his advantage later on in the story. In an attempt to chase off Delia for good, Sykes brings a rattlesnake into the house. Delia later finds the snake in the laundry basket and rushes out the house in horror. The same night, Sykes returns home and gets bitten by the snake. Previously, Delia said, “ ‘Oh well, whatever goes over the Devil’s back, is got to come under his belly. Sometime or ruther, Sykes, like everybody else, is gointer reap his sowing.’ Basically warning that whether it be by God, the Devil, or fate, Sykes will reap what he sowed. Delia believes that he will pay for all the bad things that he did to her, and ultimately he did. He took advantage of her fear of snakes and tried to use it against her.

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Short Stories A Good Man is Hard to Find and Sweat. (2021, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/short-stories-a-good-man-is-hard-to-find-and-sweat/


How many pages is A Good Man is Hard to Find short story?
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories First edition cover Author Flannery O'Connor Published 1955 (Harcourt, Brace and Company) Media type Print (hardcover) Pages 256 pp 4 more rows
What did Flannery O'Connor say about A Good Man is Hard to Find?
“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” is a typical Flannery O'Connor story, which means it presents us with a strange morality — one where integrity is found in immoral people and where hypocrisy and moral corruption seem magnetically attached to outwardly “good” people .
What is the moral of the story A Good Man is Hard to Find?
The short story “A good Man is Hard to Find” teaches us that nothing good come from being selfish . Being selfish has plenty of consequences. One of them is that when you are selfish you or your loved once suffer. In the short story by O'Connor, the grandmother's selfishness leads to the death of her family.
What is the short story A Good Man is Hard to Find?
"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" is a Southern gothic short story first published in 1953 by author Flannery O'Connor who, in her own words, described it as " the story of a family of six which, on its way driving to Florida [from Georgia], gets wiped out by an escaped convict who calls himself the Misfit "."
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