There is a common saying of “two sides to the same coin” that has been used by individuals to describe how one person, place, or idea may seem to be one entity, but in reality is another. This idea that there are two different sides of the same idea is considered irony which helps create a comedic tone in the situation. In the context of the short story, “Good Country People,” by Flannery O’Connor, many of the characters are described as being “good country people,” as the title indicates. Characters such as Hulga and Manley Pointer, two of the main characters in the short story, each have an initial identity that carries them throughout the story until new information is discovered by the end of the narrative. This new information creates …show more content…
The first encounter with Manley is when he attempts to sell Bibles to Mrs. Hopewell. He sweet-talks her into believing that he, as well, is a “good country people” by saying things such as “I know you’re a Chrustian because I can see it in every line of your face” (230). The tone that O’Connor uses in his words sets a mood of trust and mutual understanding due to the wooing. By putting a sense of hope in Mrs. Hopewell’s mind in relation to Manley himself, he titles himself a “good country people.” After gaining the trust of Hulga, and attempting to seduce her when they were in the barn on their date, it is revealed that he is the opposite of what he was describing himself as. Mrs. Hopewell, Mrs. Freeman, and Hulga all thought that he was a young, strong, Christian that could do no harm; this is not the case as he is evil through and …show more content…
While the couple is on a date in the barn, and Manley brings out the whiskey, cards, and condoms from the hollowed Bible, Hulga realizes that Manley is not the Christian man he claimed to be and says, “Aren’t you … aren’t you just good country people?” (250). This is when she realizes that there is nothing such as a “good country people” because no one is who they claim to be. While it appears that Manley’s character changes from start to end, this is not true; he was hiding who he was at the core in order to produce the results that he wanted which was an exploitation of Hulga. Because of this, the interpretation changes. The interpretation is important to the story because it shows that the perception of a person is not always who they are, leading to the realization that it is necessary to not be blinded by first
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The artificial leg that Hulga “was as sensitive about the artificial leg as a peacock about his tail” symbolizes her vulnerability and her dependence on things despite what she may think, but from this it would be nearly impossible to guess that Manley was
Mrs. Hopewell holds the title of a Christian in "Good Country People" and Pointer still blinds her of his true intentions. When these two characters first meet, their conversation starts with Mrs. Hopewell claiming the title of a Christian and pushes his way through the door (O'Connor, 155). Mrs. Hopewell impatiently took him into the parlor, despite him pushing into her home and pushing her to buy a Bible. Eventually Pointer manipulates Mrs. Hopewell into welcoming him into her home through claiming people don't like good country people like him (O'Connor, 156). This act instantly changes Mrs. Hopewell's intentions from attempting to get Pointer out of the house so she could eat dinner, to inviting him to dinner.
Throughout much of O’Connor’s works, there is this idea that a character needs redemption, as Dorothy Walters suggests in her book, Flannery O’Connor. Walters also states when these characters are enlightened, it is often “through catastrophe.” In O’Connor’s “Good Country People,” this salvation through violence occurs for Joy. Through the evaluation of Joy’s downfalls in character and her misinterpretation of Manley Pointer, Joy has a horrific experience that will forever change her perspective and reform her overconfidence. Before Joy/Hulga even meets Manley Pointer, readers understand that she has a lack of experience in the real world.
In Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People”, O’Connor utilizes the analogy of good country people as a representation and critique of the ignorance of society. To do so, O’Connor presents the sense of superiority certain characters possess, resulting in them becoming ignorant to the truth of the world that is around them. In doing so, O’Connor challenges common perceptions of society in never questioning those who appear inferior to one, yet are still capable of unimaginable things. Through the examination of the characters of Mrs. Hopewell and Joy, or Hulga, and their interactions with good country people in Mrs. Freeman and Manley Pointer, superiority will be shown to cause one to become ignorant of the true nature of others; hence, leading
Next character we have is Mrs. Freeman: she has worked for Mrs. Hopewell on the farm the past four years. She is very mysterious and we don’t know much about Mrs. Freeman because the story is told through the eyes of Mrs. Hopewell and Hulga. Finally we have Manley Pointer; a bible salesman who goes around house to house selling bibles.
Wickedness and malevolence is afoot in the stories “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates and “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor. The antagonists are both men, Arnold Friend and Manley Pointer, who take advantage of women. However, one of these men is more malicious than the other. This man is Arnold Friend from “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” because his intentions with the young woman, who is a minor, appear to be much more evil and daunting than that of Manley Pointer from “Good Country People”.
The scene in the barn displays the reality of Hulga's beliefs as they explode in front of her. When Hulga discovers Manley's façade, she realizes the evil of nihilism and the damage nihilism incurs. Manley says "What’s the matter with you all of a sudden?” he asked, frowning as he screwed the top on the flask and put it quickly back inside the Bible. “You just a while ago said you didn’t believe in nothing.
Flannery O’Connor, in her short life, wrote one novel and many short stories that impact literature to this day. She wrote two superb short stories, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Good Country People, which have many similarities hidden in the theme of their complex text. While both stories include themes about religion, identity, and the way we view others, the endings are astoundingly different. Nonetheless, O’Connor’s main theme concerning the way we view other people, is the most significant in both short stories. In Good Country People, Mrs. Hopewell repeatedly states that the bible salesman is the “salt of the earth” meaning that he is just a good and simple country boy.
Flannery O’Connor authored the short story “Good country people” with a bid to examine some of the conflicts that exist in the society. The author identified the social class as of the main conflicts that exist in the society. Mrs. Hopewell is used by the author as the character that best delivers the theme of the social class. From the beginning, Mrs. Hopewell has labeled the members of society some titles are depending on the class they belong in her eyes. Mrs. Hopewell refers the group at the bottom as “trash.”
In Good Country People by Flannery O’Connor, Manley Pointer a young unassuming Bible salesman successfully dupes Hulga Hopewell an unattractive yet prideful atheist with a PhD into giving him her false leg. Pointer is a man who exploits the weakness of other in order to achieve his goals. He often does this by sympathizing with other people’s conditions in life or allowing them to believe they have the upper hand. Hulga and Manley first meet when he tries to sell Mrs. Hopewell, Hulga’s mother, a Bible.
Symbolism is when the author uses objects to add deeper meaning to the story without mentioning it in the story. In Flannery O’Connor’s story, “Good Country People”, she uses symbolism to illustrate the antagonist and protagonist with more insight; for example, Manley’s hollow Bible signify how he really does not believe in Christianity, Hulga’s wooden leg portrayed her personality, and her name change represents how she is not the same girl she once was. First of all, the author introduces Manley Pointer as a young man that goes around homes selling Bibles, but little did she know that was not the case. When Manley Pointer goes on a date with Hulga the truth is revealed. Hulga has the impression that Manley is a young nice man that sells Bibles
Readers can understand the elements by reading what the narrator has to say about the blind man. He is always complaining about him before the blind man even gets to his house. The narrator in the beginning did not give the blind man a chance before he started judging him. In a world full of negative things, people should give each other a chance to get to know one
He causes Hulga to have an epiphanal moment about her beliefs when he removes her eyeglasses, steals her leg, and breaks her heart. When the two enter the barn, they begin a process of ritualistic cleansing. He first takes off her eyeglasses when they “got in his way” of his barrage of kisses (CS 295). Flannery symbolizes this theft as an ironic changing of view for Hulga: she loses her logical eyeglasses to gain a more emotional way of seeing. This change goes unnoticed by Hulga as she “seldom paid any close attention to her surroundings” (296), causing her to be dependent on Manly for sight.
A few characters that carry this linkage include Glynese, Carramae, Mrs. Freeman, Mrs. Hopewell, Manley Pointe and Joy (Hulga). The names O’Conner gave to each character are not just simple titles but as well give a deeper meaning of her short story. For example Mrs. Freeman has two daughters named Glynese and Carramae who are brought into the story as indirect characters though play an important role towards Joy’s life. In Hulga’s world they are known as Glycerin and Caramel. “Glynese, a redheaded eighteen year old with many admirers” (O’Conner 168), seems to bother Hulga in a way because she is young and has a great ability to grab the attention of males, a factored not greatly possessed by Hulga’s part.
Humans, by their very nature, become egocentric. People tend to think of themselves as more important than they really are and look down upon others. In Flannery O’Connor’s short stories this part of human nature is explored and the egocentric people receive their comeuppance. The process of dispelling this aspect of humanity often involves violence. In Flannery O’Connor’s work, violence is the unexpected bearer and path to grace, disillusionment, and salvation.