In Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People," what is the tone of the piece?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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"Good Country People" has a deeply ironic, almost sardonic, tone. Consider the irony of the title itself—these are not good country people, especially the salesman—and then move on to the first lines: " Besides the neutral expression that she wore when she was alone, Mrs. Freeman had two others, forward and reverse, that she used for all her human dealings.  Her forward expression was steady and driving like the advance of a heavy truck."

She is supposedly "free" (a free-man), but has only three expressions, and acts like a machine…which is hardly like a person at all. To have only these expressions is hardly to be a good person; where is the nuance? The gentle spirit?