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I find two things most significant about the title of Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People." First, Hulga considers herself more intelligent than all of the good country people around her. She has earned a PhD, has suffered a disability and has seen a bit more of the world around her than her neighbors. Second, and most importantly, I find the title deliberately ironic since she is so completely fooled by the perverse huckster posing as a travelling Bible salesman, Manley Pointer. Pointer is anything but good, and when he leaves Hulga in the hayloft without her wooden leg, she learns a lesson that could never have been taught in college. But Manley is not alone in his lack of goodness. Mrs. Freeman's two daughters are mostly good at attracting men; one is 15 and pregnant and the other is proud of her many male admirers. Neither of the two mothers were able to hang on to their husbands, and Mrs. Freeman uses only the back, kitchen door; she apparently is not welcome to use Mrs. Hopewell's front door. Hulga is the most out of place of all the good country people: a woman who thinks a little too highly of herself, who feels sorry for herself, and who seems to hate the life around her--that is, until she is conned by Manley.
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