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Good Country People - Flannery O'Connor

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Patrick Binette

on 19 November 2013

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Transcript of Good Country People - Flannery O'Connor

Good Country People
- Flannery O'Connor

Her leg represents her dignity, as it was taken away by Manley Pointer after he seduced her.
The theme of Good Country People is the meaning of evil. Joy-Hulga thinks that she is going to have to trick Manley Pointer and seduce him. He ends up being the one that tricks Joy-Hulga and he steals her wooden leg. He comes into the story as a bible salesman and he is believed to be a good christian man. By the end of the story he is untrustworthy and evil for tricking her.
Works Cited
Edwards, Jr., Bruce L. "Good Country People." Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition (2004): 1-2. Literary Reference Center. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
Good Country People is a short story about two families who live together, the Hopewells and Freemans. The Freemans' farm the Hopewells' property. Joy-Hulga Hopewell is the daughter of Mrs. Hopewell . The initial incident is when Manley Pointer, a bible saleman invites himself into the Freemans' house.The rising action is when Mrs. Hopewell is opening up to Manley.The climax is when Joy-Hulga meets up with Manley Pointer in the driveway and the resolution was when he stole her leg and her dignity. Manley Pointer is the protagonist of the story. Joy's morality changes throughout the story. She becomes more friendly and opens up to the bible salesman, Manley Pointer. The next morning she aspires to seduce the Christian man, but he ends up taking her wooden leg and dignity after seducing her in the barn. She is left in shock and appalled by her experience.
Plot Summary
Manley Pointer
Mrs. Freeman
Mrs. Hopewell
Hulga is the daughter of Mrs. Hopewell. She is a highly educated 32 year old with a Ph.D. in philosophy. Hulga lost her leg when she was 10, in a hunting accident. She reveres this in place of any sort of religion.
Joy Hulga
Manley Pointer is a man who poses as a Bible Salesman but in actuality is a swindler. Manley tricks Hulga into caring for him and in return he takes Hulga's leg and abandons her.
This shows one's gullibility for somebody who publicly shows they firmly believe in Christianity, whether or not it is true.
Mrs. Hopewell is the mother of Joy Hulga. She is very over protective of her daughter. She wants her daughter to live a productive life even though she still lives with her mother at 32.
Mrs. Freeman works for the Hopewells. She is a very nosey woman who sees right through the ways of the Hopewells.She has worked for the Hopewells for four years and is constantly talking about her daughters, Glynese and Caramae.
Literary Devices
The two literary devices used in this short story are irony and an epiphany. It's ironic because the bible salesman ends up tricking everyone. Also, Joy-Hulga thinks she is going to trick Manley but she ends up getting tricked.

Joy-Hulga's epiphany is when Manley leaves her in the hayloft without her wooden leg.She learns not to trick people and she learns what it feels like to be tricked.
Garbett, Ann D. "Good Country People." Magill’S Survey Of American Literature, Revised Edition (2006): 1. Literary Reference Center. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
Hulga's Leg
The Bible
Text Passages
"And I'll tell you another thing, Hulga. You ain't so smart. I been believing in nothing ever since I was born!" (O'Connor 406).
Oliver, Kate. "O'connor's GOOD COUNTRY PEOPLE." Explicator 62.4 (2004): 233-236. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Cooksey, Thomas L. "Been Believing In Nothing!": Flannery O'connor Reads Simone De Beauvoir." Flannery O'connor Review 2.(2003): 74-83. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Literary Critique
"Mrs. Hopewell could not say, 'My daughter is an atheist and won't let me keep the Bible in the parlor.' She said, stiffening slightly, 'I keep my Bible by my bedside.' This was not the truth. It was in the attic somewhere." (O'Connor 397)
In the literary critique, "Been Believing in Nothing!": Flannery O'Connor Reads Simone de Beauvoir, Thomas L. Cooksey addresses many concepts dealing with "Good Country People". In this critique, Cooksey talks about how Joy-Hulga decides to take "Pointer to the hayloft and intends to seduce him" (Cooksey 74) in turn corrupting him. Much to Joy-Hulga's surprise Manley is not so innocent. He actually possesses an obsession with prosthetic limbs and organs. He flees leaving Hulga "figuratively and literally... [without] a leg to stand on" (Cooksey 74). Toward the end of the passage the points that Cooksey makes are very accurate. He says that Manley "adds insult to injury..." when he states that "he was not especially impressed with her existentialism..." and he exclaims, "I've been believing in nothing ever sense I was born." (Cooksey 74) This is an interesting point. Joy-Hulga prides herself in being an "existentialist" and that is one of the only things she is "good" at and when Manley leaves he points out that not only did she fail to please him but she also claimed to believe in nothing, the ground works of existentialism, but was merely masking her emotions.

Thomas L. Cooksey
"Been Believing in Nothing!":
Flannery O'Connor Reads Simone de Beauvoir

"Mrs. Hopewell thought of her as a child though she was thirty two years old and highly educated." (O'Connor 393)
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