How is "Good Country People" a story of moral blindness?

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Hulga is the representation of blindness in the story, although Manley Pointer serves as an example of a dearth of morality. Hulga considers herself quite experienced, far beyond the innocent, simple life of the country folk by whom she is surrounded. She projects this simplicity onto the Bible salesman, and that is where her blindness is revealed. Pointer's evil is masquerading as innocence, & he certainly lures Hulga into his illusion. Hulga lacks the ability to recognize Manley for who he is because, as a self-proclaimed nihilist, evil has no more meaning for her than God has.

This blindness allows Manley to degrade her, shattering her beliefs and stealing her wooden leg. When she pleads, “Aren’t you just good country people?” he replies, “I hope you don’t think that I believe in that crap!" He mocks her pain and humiliation by pointing out (as his name suggests) that she is no more experienced or worldly than himself; in fact, she is much less so. If at the beginning she considers herself a temptress, leading an innocent youth into carnal knowledge, by the end of the story she realizes that it was she who is tempted all along. Through him she falls into the world of experience, gaining the knowledge that evil does indeed exist, that there is meaning beyond the Nothing she embraced at the beginning of the story.

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