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Flannery O'Conners "Good Country People" the term "good country people" s thrown around...

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tcbjp11 | Student, College Freshman | eNoter

Posted July 21, 2011 at 10:32 AM via web

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Flannery O'Conners "Good Country People" the term "good country people" s thrown around a lot in the story - what does it mean?

Do different characters have different definitions?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 23, 2011 at 1:59 AM (Answer #1)

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In the story "Good Country People", Mrs. Hopewell is very critical of others. She, living her life in the country, only finds herself trusting people much like herself. She surrounds herself with a limited few whom hold the same values that she does.

Mrs. Hopewell only trusts Christian country people. It is this fact which allows Manley Pointer to gain access to her home and to her daughter. It seems that Mrs. Hopewell, while staunch in her stereotypes, limits her own ability to judge others correctly based solely upon their claims of being Christian and "country".

Therefore, Mrs. Hopewell defines "good country people" by comparing them to herself and the values she holds. Good country people are honest and good hearted. They also will accept hospitality of others like themselves. Above all else, they must have strong Christian values.

That being said, Joy-Hulga definitely has a different definition of what a "good country person" would be. Her mother believes Manly Pointer to be a good country person. Unfortunately, Joy-Hulga knows differently. Joy-Hulga and her mother would surely disagree on the definition of what a good country person was if considering Pointer.

Pointer seduces Joy-Hulga (she is willingly seduced). In the end, this good country person admits to drinking, carries a false bible with condoms and nude playing cards, and steals Joy-Hulga's prosthetic leg. His is under no circumstances a good country person.

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