In "Good Country People," what different types of intelligence do Mrs. Hopewell and Hulga value? Which of the two seems smarter (if either)?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mrs. Hopewell values the goodness in people.  Her very name signifies this...she "hopes well" for her life and the people in it.  she looks for the good in all who surround her.

Hulga values only intellect.  She has her degrees, and she looks down on her mother and her friends.  She has no value in the "good country people" whom her mother likes so much.  Hulga finds them all ignorant and intolerable.  She abuses them every chance she gets.

I would put my money on Mrs. Hopewell for being the smarter of the two.  Mrs. Hopewell looks for the good in people, but she doesn't smash those down in whom she can't find any.  Therefore, perhaps people will generally treat her with the same fondness she gives to them.

Hulga's hatefulness toward all make her a target.  Therefore, the irony of her being taken into the hayloft by one of these "dumb country people" and left there without her false leg makes the situation even funnier.  She's not as smart as she thinks, and the Bible salesman isn't as idiotic as she assumes.