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Flannery O'connor's Good Country People Essay

1363 words - 6 pages

Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Good Country People” is about four main characters and their misconceptions about one another and life in general.
Country people are usually considered to be humble and hard-working individuals and Flannery O’Connor uses the concept as an ironic title in her story “Good Country People”. The story opens with a description of Mrs. Freeman who is the wife of Mrs. Hopewell’s most recent tenant farmer. Mrs. Hopewell was hesitant in hiring her due to hearing from Mrs. Freeman’s reference that Mrs. Freeman was “the nosiest woman ever to walk the earth”, “she’s got to be into everything”, “she’ll want to know all your business” (2525); however, Mrs. Hopewell still hired the Freemans as she had no other applicants and made it clear that “she would see to it that she was into everything- she would give her the responsibility of everything, she would put her in charge” (2525) making Mrs. Freeman so busy that it would give her no opportunity to be a busybody. Mrs. Hopewell, a divorcee with an optimist but naive outlook has a well-educated daughter who is in her thirties, Joy, who is disabled and a bitter person.
Later on into the story, a self-proclaimed Christian and country boy, Manly Pointer, came to the Hopewell Farm to sell bibles. He sold himself neatly to Mrs. Hopewell who believed he was a good country boy he portrayed himself to be however thought he was boring. Pointer then lures Joy to the barn the next day and while Joy thought she was going to seduce and educate Pointer, he had his own less than admirable agenda.
Mrs. Hopewell is an optimist, which we can see reflected in the name chosen for her by O’Connor. Mrs. Hopewell uses a lot of clichés and truisms in her conversation with others. Mrs. Hopewell has a strained relationship with her adult daughter, Joy. It is difficult to determine the cause(s) of her resentment towards her mother. Is it because of Joy’s heart condition seem to that her mother view her as a child or is it because of her disability; however, Mrs. Hopewell doesn't make any efforts to get to know her better. In addition, Mrs. Hopewell disapproves of Joy’s atheism and her philosophical mindset. Mrs. Hopewell observed "every year she grew less like other people and more like herself- bloated, rude and squint-eyed" (2527) clearly evidencing some disdain towards Joy. Mrs. Hopewell feels disappointed that she cannot boast about her daughter, as Joy did not conform to what Mrs. Hopewell felt was an appropriate life, from her attitude to her selection of degrees (philosophy). Mrs. Hopewell seems to have allowed her disdain towards Joy encompass all aspects of their relationship. While a kind woman, it is obvious she is very shallow and would rather have a life she could show off to the outside world. She instead boasts about her tenant farmer’s daughters and is envious that they conformed to what she felt what a woman was supposed to be. Additionally, her...

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