Analyze the two situations below. What do they suggest about Manley's attitude? How do they foreshadow the outcome?a. "His look was different from what it had been at the dinner table. He was...

Analyze the two situations below.

What do they suggest about Manley's attitude? How do they foreshadow the outcome?

a. "His look was different from what it had been at the dinner table. He was gazing at her with open curiosity,with fascination,like a child watching a new fantastic animal at the zoo, and he was breathing as if he had run a great distance to reach her."

b. "He gazed at her now as if the fantastic animal at the zoo had put its paw through the bars and given him a loving poke."

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The relationship between the one-legged Joy/Hulga Hopewell and the Bible-selling scam artist Manley Pointer in Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People" is certainly one of the most unusual in all of Southern literature. Manley's attraction to Joy at the kitchen table was not evident, since the other women were still present, but when he confronted her outside and then escorted her to the gate--the boundary between her world and the outside world--he became like a wild animal carefully stalking his prey. Was it her intellectual stimulation that he sought, or was it her weakness--the wooden leg?

Later, after Manley had made his small talk and set up their next meeting, he waited for Joy to arrive. She showed up and waited for him, but he remained hidden. Manley suddenly stood up and announced,

"... I knew you'd come." 
    The girl wondered acidly how he had known this.

Next, Manley asked her where her wooden leg attached. Joy began to walk away, but Manley caught up with her and kissed her.

... She had never been kissed before and she was pleased to discover that it was an unexceptional experience.

Nevertheless, Manley knew he had her hooked. When she smiled and repeated that she "didn't believe in God," Manley saw that he had caged his innocent beast. Although Joy played her own inexperienced game of give and take with Manley, it was he who was in control, luring the girl to the ladder and the upstairs loft where he would neutralize her physically and emotionally.

O'Connor's revelation of Manley's perverse intentions catch Joy (and the reader) by complete surprise, reducing the well educated young woman to tears while teaching her a new lesson in life.

"...you ain't so smart. I been believing in nothing ever since I was born!"

Read the study guide:
Good Country People

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question