In O'Connor's "Good Country People," why are the characters' names significant?

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Many of the names in this story can be interpreted ironically: for example, Mrs. Hopewell wants to see the good in people, such as Manley, but she tends to allow her sense of her own superiority to blur her vision, dashing her hopes. Her daughter, also a Hopewell, suffers from the same problem.

Mrs. Freeman, on the surface, is not free, as she farms Mrs. Hopewell's land. However, because she has a clearer vision of the world than Mrs. Hopewell she may, ironically, be more free.

Manley Pointer's name is most interesting because it is open to multiple interpretations. Given O'Connor's Catholic theology, the name Manley, which includes the word "man," can be seen as alluding to his fallen nature. He is connected to the worldly and divorced from the spiritual. One interpretation of Pointer is that this evil, fallen young man points out to Hulga her own naivete and limitations.

The name Hulga may come from the old, disused Swedish word huld that means lovable and sweet. This would be ironic as...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 641 words.)

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