How Is Dramatic Irony Used In A Good Man Is Hard To Find?

Flannery O’Connor’s renowned short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” contains numerous instances of dramatic irony. The most notable example of this type of irony is the grandmother’s self-perception. Throughout the story, the grandmother views herself as a “good person,” despite her deceitful actions. She brings Pitty Sing on the trip, knowing it will irritate Bailey, lies and manipulates people to get her way, and prioritizes her own interests over her family’s well-being. Additionally, the grandmother fails the goodness test when she begrudges the postwar financial aid the United States provides to Europe. At the end of the story, when the Misfit and his companions hold the family at gunpoint, the grandmother attempts to save her own life by speaking with the Misfit, rather than pleading for her family’s lives. This is an example of dramatic irony because one would expect the grandmother to prioritize her family’s safety, but instead, she disregards them and only pleads for her own life. This leads to the grandmother’s moment of grace, which she willingly accepts.


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