Writers use imagery to create a special mood and images related to the plot. Flannery O’Connor describes the forest, sky, car, and characters to create the desired effect. Her imagery is macabre but trivial. In her story, commonplace things become uncanny.
The reader meets the best examples of imagery when reading the description of the scenery and forest. For instance, O’Connor says, “Behind them the line of woods gaped like a dark open mouth.” She creates a dark, tense, and unsafe image of an area that can be dangerous for people who enter there. It is also one of the symbols in A Good Man Is Hard to Find as the forest becomes the place where all heroes die. In other words, this “dark open mouth” consumes them.
The line “tall and dark and deep” is another example of imagery. O’Connor intensifies the feeling of danger. She shows that the setting can play a fatal role in the story. On the other hand, some more ways help to create the visual imagery.
The sky is one of the symbols in A Good Man Is Hard to Find. The Misfit says about the sky, “Don’t see no sun but don’t see no cloud neither.” These words have several meanings. First, O`Connor shows that the sky is empty. It is a case of religious imagery in a story. If the sky is empty, there is no God, and the grandmother cannot hope for salvation. However, an empty sky can mean a good day with no heat or no rain. This example of imagery adds several meanings to the story, and readers can interpret them on their own.
O’Connor also uses “cloudless sky” as another example of imagery. People usually use this phrase to speak about good days. That is why the line helps to show the controversy of the story. The whole family dies on a good day with a “cloudless sky” because of a criminal who can also be a good man. These symbols help readers to understand the plot of the story and the author’s message.
O’Connor also introduces some images of death, and here is why:
When the author describes The Misfit’s car as “a big black battered hearse-like automobile.” A hearse is usually used to carry coffins to funerals. So, by introducing a new character, the author immediately shows the danger that comes from him. Moreover, the car, its color, and design are symbols of death in the story A Good Man Is Hard to Find. Readers understand that The Misfit and his people will not let the family go. The car is a hearse for their bodies. This symbol goes together with the religious motifs introduced by empty skies and the grandmother.
These examples of imagery show that O’Connor creates a tense and gloomy atmosphere through everyday objects.