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Good Country People

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Bryce Dzialo

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of Good Country People

Hulga Hopewell - Wishes to break away from her Mother in all ways that she can. She is also motivated by her philosophy degree, and her dislike of her home on the farm.

Manley Pointer - Motivated by a twisted desire to fool and steal others. He also enjoys collecting objects from others, and possibly his loneliness.
Significant Symbols
The Bible- This may represent that religion is not what it is all cracked up to be, and many people use it as a guise to hide their insidious nature.

The name Hulga- The author writes in the name Hulga and uses her mother to describe why the name was chosen saying- "hit upon the ugliest name in any language"

Hulgs'a PHD - The form of education symbolizes a higher status, something that contributes to the difficult relationship between Hulga and her mother.
Main Themes
False identities - Not only does Manley Pointer lie about being a bible salesman, but Hulga also struggles with her identity, as she changes her name to get away from her old life.

False Faith and Religion - We see that Hulga does not share the same faith that her mother has, and that even though Pointer claims to be a christian, he is absolutely not.

Loss of innocence- Hulga leaves her home and mother she is robbed.

Character Motivations
The Title of the comes into play when Hulga's mother tries to explain to Hulga the type of man she should be looking out for. However we soon see that the title is the opposite of how the story plays out, introducing a man to Hulga with a bag of tricks and bad intentions.

The Title
Good Country People
Central Conflict
The central conflict of the story, is Hulga's campaign to stray away from her life and become independent. She does this by completing her education and changing her name.
The climax of this story is of course the escape of Manley Pointer with Hulga's glasses, leg, and perhaps her dignaty.

" Mrs. Hopewell excused this attitude because of the leg(which had been shot off in a hunting accident when Joy was ten)- This quote is important because it offers us some backstory to the characters.
"Without the leg she felt entirely dependent on him"- This quote shows us Manley Pointer's real plan, as he creates a dependence.
"Aren't you," She murmured," aren't you just good country people?"- In this quote we see Hulga's fall back into her innocence.
"During the night she had imagined that she had seduced him." - This quote shows us Hulga attempting to break away from her childhood ways once again, by atasizing about Pointer.
O'Connor uses irony often in all of the short stories, in Good Country People, we see irony when Pointer uses a bible to carry all of his sexual paraphernalia. We see it again when we read that the type of man that Hulga's mother wanted for her daughter so badly was the same type who stole her leg and ran off on her.
Everything That Rises Must Converge
Julian still lives with his mother because he looks after her and takes care of her for everything shes done for him.
Julian takes the woman's seat on the bus to make his mother angry.
Julian wants to teach his mother a lesson so he ponders different.
Ways in which he could end her racism towards people of color

One of Momma's motives is to go to the Y to loose weight so she can be healthier and live longer.
Momma's motive to dress nice everywhere she goes is rooted in the belief that if she does so everyone will think her family still has it's money.
One of the themes is racism. Even though slavery has been banished momma feels as if all black people are inferior to all of the white people. She still believes in the olden laws of blacks standing up on the buses for whites.

Another theme is facing reality. Momma hasn't faced reality that she no
longer has any money but she still dresses as if she were rich and she judges other who are dressed just as she is

Another theme is man vs. society. Julian’s
mother wants Julian to stay where hes seated instead he sits next to the black woman.He is fighting the racism of the 1960s that blacks are an inferior race to the whites

The hat is a symbol. Even though the woman on the bus is wearing the same hat as momma she is still judging her for not being as dressed up as she possibly could have

Another symbol is the
penny. When she gives the black boy the penny it
symbolizes that she thinks that blacks are still relying on the whites for support in society.

The integrated bus symbolizes that society is now integrated and
anybody can ride the bus no matter their social status or race.

The Title
The title means that every rising topic in todays society has to come together to a meeting place. In this case it is racism.

Conflict and Climax
The central conflict is that momma is still living in the past she dresses as if she was still rich and acts like a racist. Julian however is the complete opposite of her dressing like a bum and denounces racism.
The climax is when the woman yells at her for giving her son a penny and runs off the bus.
One example of irony is that mommas dressed the same way as the black woman on
the bus but she still ridicules her because she black and she feels she should be dressed better.

Another ironic thing is that momma thinks black babies are cuter then white babies yet she is a racist and doesn’t like black adults.
A Good Man is Hard to Find
Character Motivations
The Grandmother-Self-Preservation is important to her. If something doesn't go her way she'll do anything to change it.
Bailey-Gullible. He is a follower, not a leader. The family might have been robbed at the gas station, he allowed the grandmother to take them off course, and laid down to the misfit's demands.
A good man- The references to what a good man is becomes more construed each time it was used. The grandmother even refers to the misfit, although he is anything but good.
Flaws-Each character has their o flaws that define who they are. For example, Bailey is gullible and the grandmother is self-seeking.
God- Even the most corrupt people talk about God. They either repent or despise God for what has happened to them.
Grandmother's hat- She refers to herself as a lady but the hat is the only evidence. Anywhere she goes, she dresses as if she is going to die and will be buried in her best clothes.
The misfit's car- The misfit and his crew drive around in a car described as long, black, and hearse-like. It shows their intentions as if everywhere they drive death and grief follow.
The Mansion-This is a figment of the grandmother's imagination that she planted in her family's minds was an unobtainable object that led to their demise.
A Good Man is Hard to Find
Central Conflct and Climax
O'Connor could've had many different meanings for the title. Throughout the story, many of the characters say their opinion of what a good man is. This use of the title shows everyone has different perceptions and make the reader think of what is a good man.
The central conflict of the story is when Bailey crashes the car into the ditch and the grandmother reveals the identity of the Misfit.

The rising action continues while the family is being held captive by the gang and separated. The climax is when the grandmother reaches for the misfit and he kills her.
"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life." The grandmother had an epiphany knowing this was the end of her life.

"Shut up, Bobby Lee," The Misfit said. "It's no real pleasure in life." This is the last line in the story and opens up the possibility that what the grandmother had done changed the Misfit.

"I know you're a good man. You don't look a bit like you have common blood. I know you must come from nice people!"
Catholic Connection
Good country people – Manley pointer is a bible salesmen, an obvious shout out to the good book, however when he turns to the dark side and steals Hulga's leg, we can see a small mirroring of the Devil as he acted in the story of Adam and Eve.

Everything That Rises Must Converge – We see a small bit of Jesus in Julian, as he believes that all people are equal, and tries to show his mother out of her bigoted ways.

A Good Man Is Hard To Find – This story shows us that all people are good, so those who are hurtful and poor in spirit are doing so by an unconscious choice. God says that we must pray for these people, and take care of them just like any other.

The Life You Save May Be Your Own – In this story, the quote “angel of God” is repeated several ties throughout the ending, this ties the story with O'Connor's others with a catholic infliction.
One example is the name of the place they were heading; Toomsboro

Another example is the exaggerated use of calling people a good person. Ex: The Misfit
1. She stopped and allowed her eyes to flash at him. “I most certainly do know who I am,” she said, “and if you don't know who you are, I'm ashamed of you.” - the Mother - this quote is significant because it seems as if the mother is telling Julian that because he is white he should think that he is better then the African American people.

2. " the ones that I feel bad for are the ones that are half white, they're tragic." - The mother - this exemplify the how racist Julian's Mother really is for the first time in the story.

The Life You Save May Be Your Own
The old woman
1. The old woman offers up her barn for tom to sleep and live in because she needs help on the farm
2. The mother offers her daughters hand in marriage but she wont let them take her away from the house
3. The mother gives tom the truck in return for him marrying her daughter
Tom shiftlet
1. Tom marries the old womans daughter to get himself a car
2. Tom needs a place to sleep and stay because he is a tramp so he works for free on the farm
3. Tom leaves the girl at the restaurant because he has his own plans in life that don’t include her


1. Disgust- when tom first meets the old woman they talk about how disgusting the world is in todays society. At the end of the story when he leaves her at the restaurant he says that he feels the disgust of the world entering him
2. Disabilities- both tom and Lucynell are disabled. Tom lost his arm and Lucynell is mentally handicapped
3. Opportunities- tom is given multiple opportunities to change his life but he does't take them and runs away

1. The sky is a symbol because when he leaves her at the restaurant the sky is still blue symbolizing he could still turn around but once he gets too far way he feels the disgust of the world the sky turns black around him. Symbolizing his sin
2. Shiftlet's name is a symbol because it symbolizes that just as him name states he cant stay in one place hes always shifting
3. The long strip of highway at the end symbolizes him attempting to escape from his past life

Title Meaning
1. The message of the title the life you save might be your own is a message of redemption. Tom shiftlet has the chance to redeem his life and start over again but he chooses to go back to the way things were
1. The conflict is that Tom doesn’t have any money and doesn’t have any place to live. Once hes given a place to live he doesn’t want to live there any longer and wants to leave
2. The climax of the story is tom leaving lucynell at the restaurant. This states that hes leaving his new life behind in search of another one

Conflict and Climax
1. “ there aint any pace for a friendless drifting man”- LucyNell senior
Lucynell says this to attempt to get tom to stay at the farm to get free work out of him

2. " I wasn't raised that a way, and there aint nothing i can do about it, well my old mother taught me how to do." - Shiflet - Ironic quote because Shiflet speaks of his high morals but then leaves LN at the diner.

3. " My mother is a flea bag, and yours is a stinking pole cat." - Hitch Hiker - The hitch hiker insults not only his mother but that of a complete stranger, this makes Shiflet upset, while he himself had already spoken ill of his mother. He does not quite understand it.

1. Shiftlet's last name is ironic because he doesn't stay in one place.

2. Another is the fact that he is going to Mobile.
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