How do you think the story wants you to judge Hulga, Mrs. Hopewell, and the good country person who violates them?To Mrs. Hopewell, there are “good country people” and there are “trash.”...

How do you think the story wants you to judge Hulga, Mrs. Hopewell, and the good country person who violates them?

To Mrs. Hopewell, there are “good country people” and there are “trash.” What are the results of Mrs. Hopewell’s way of thinking of other people on herself and Hulga? What similarities do you see in the language of Mrs. Hopewell's saying and the Bible salesman's last words?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To begin, "the story" doesn't want us to judge anything. However, Flannery O'Connor may have particular intentions that we can discover through analysis. Mrs. Hopewell, as her name suggests, considers herself an open-minded person. She says that she respects all opinions, but she also labels people as "trash". This kind of simplistic thinking has led her to live in a world of isolation. Hulga, on the other hand, rejects her mother's way of life & her mode of thinking. She has turned that simplicity into a bitter nihilism. She even changed her name from the beautiful "Joy" to the harsh "Hulga." Because of her mother's influence, Hulga has little patience with what she thinks of sarcastically as "good country people." She finds them boring & clueless. Yet her philosophy is revealed to be flawed as well.

Finally, Manley Pointer, as his name suggests, becomes an object of revelation in the story. He tears Hulga's leg from her, & in doing so, tears away her illusions. He points out the reality of her existence, and forces to come to terms with those around her. He uses the same, plain language as Mrs. Hopewell, & both are on some level aware of how Hulga is fooling herself. Yet he is much more worldly than Mrs. Hopewell. He is under no illusions about his own existence. As far as judgment goes, none of these characters are without flaw. We are supposed to question the validity of Mrs. Hopewell's philosophy as much as Hulga's. We should certainly understand Hulga's fury at the theft of her leg. At the end, we are made aware of the similarities between each.

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Good Country People

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