Explain each character's ways of manipulation in "Good Country People."

Mrs. Hopewell is extremely skilled at manipulation in that she can get people to agree with her and avoid contentious issues by using platitudes. She is also able to tolerate the couple, whom she knows she needs; they would be difficult to replace. Joy/Hulga is also skilled at manipulation in being able to manipulate her mother into going on walks around the farm, so that she can avoid having to go herself. "Manley Pointer" is also extremely skilled at manipulation, and he is perhaps the best of all at concealing his true nature while he goes after what he wants."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mrs. Hopewell is extremely skilled at manipulation; in fact, having been warned about the nosiness of Mrs. Freeman, she has a plan in place to mange her before she even hires her and her husband as her employees. Mrs. Hopewell speaks in the kind of platitudes that make it impossible...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Mrs. Hopewell is extremely skilled at manipulation; in fact, having been warned about the nosiness of Mrs. Freeman, she has a plan in place to mange her before she even hires her and her husband as her employees. Mrs. Hopewell speaks in the kind of platitudes that make it impossible for Mrs. Freeman to do anything but agree with her, and in this way, she avoids contentious issues and controls the flow of their interactions. It is also the way she is able to tolerate the couple, whom she knows she needs; they would be difficult to replace.

Joy/Hulga is also skilled at manipulation. She does not want to accompany her mother on walks around the farm to survey its needs, and so she makes the walks an ordeal for her mother, ultimately releasing herself from having to take them.

"Manley Pointer," the Bible salesman, is also extremely skilled at manipulation, and he is perhaps the best of all at concealing his true nature while he goes after what he wants. He knows exactly what buttons to push with Mrs. Hopewell to get a free dinner from her as well as access to Hulga. He recognizes that Mrs. Hopewell is incapable of rudeness and that she will fall for the hard luck story of his childhood. When he and Hulga are alone in the barn, he is able to dupe her completely and make off with her wooden leg, even as she is sure that she is the one who is controlling the situation. His "good country people" and naive facade conceals his identity as a con man so expertly that Hulga loses not only her dignity but also her certainty of her intellectual superiority.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team