Good Country People Review

1838 words - 8 pages

Books may teach us many lessons, but real life experience is what makes people wise. Being smart is not the same as being wise. A person can be smart, he or she can have many degrees and diplomas, but unless he or she have experience life, they will not be wise. Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People” shows that people can be well educated and not be wise. Joy and Mrs. Hopewell think that they have the world figured out, but when they encounter Manley Pointer, a “simple country boy”, they will finally see the world as it is: manipulative and more complex than they ever imagine. Mrs. Hopewell believes she is wise by being so accepting of others, but she does not realise that she is ...view middle of the document...

“[Joy] had taken the Ph.D. in philosophy and this left Mrs. Hopewell at a complete loss. You could say, ‘My daughter is nurse,’ or ‘My daughter is a school teacher,’ or even ‘ My daughter is a chemical engineer.’ You could never say ‘My daughter is a philosopher”(4). Mrs. Hopewell does not even accept the major that Joy chose. She believes that there is nothing honorable about being a philosopher. In her opinion, it would be better if Joy had major in something more useful and worth bragging about.
Mrs. Hopewell does not realize, that while she is very accepting of the Freemans, she neglects Joy. “Mrs. Hopewell like to tell people that Glynese and Carramae were two of the finest girls she knew and that Mrs. Freeman was a lady and that she was never ashamed to take her anywhere or introduce her to anybody they might meet” (1) Even though they have flaws and annoying characteristics, Mrs. Hopewell accepts the Freemans just the way they are. She is not embarrassed by them and seems to think as herself as a accepting person. While Mrs. Hopewell is all accepting of the Freemans, her acceptance does not reach Joy. “Here [Joy] went about all day in a six-year old skirt and a yellow sweatshirt with a faded cowboy on a horse embossed on it. … Mrs. Hopewell thought it was idiotic and showed simply that she was still a child. She was brilliant but she didn’t have a grain of sense. It seemed to Mrs. Hopewell that every year she grew less like other people and more like herself - bloated, rude, and squint-eyed”(4). Mrs. Hopewell likes to think of Joy as a child instead of the grown woman she is. In Mrs. Hopewell opinion, Joy is not the person she wants her daughter to be. Mrs. Hopewell would love Joy to be like the rest of the girls, instead of being herself. This isolates Joy and further makes her think that she is brilliant and has the world figured out.
Joy believes that due to her Ph.D. in philosophy she is wise person and no one is as smart as her in that small town she lives in. “Joy had made it clear that if not for her condition, she would be in a university lecturing to people who knew what she was talking about” (4) Joy believes that the people in that small town are not smart enough to understand her, much less fool her.She likes to think of herself as a high intellectual person and loves to look down at people. “[Joy] looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity.”(4). This shows that Joy does regards unintelligent people with disdain; she barely tolerates them.
Although she can barely tolerate men, Joy does interact with Manley Pointer and might even like him, in her own detach way. “Even before [Manley Pointer] released [Joy], her mind, clear and detached and ironic anyway, was regarding him from a great distance, with amusement but with pity. She has never been kissed before and she was please to discover that it was an unexceptional experience and all a matter of the mind’s control.” (11). In here, Joy demonstrate that...

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