What does "Good Country People" say about uniqueness and imperfection?Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Flannery O'Connor's novels and stories are peopled with unique and flawed characters who are the result of O’Connor's satiric worldly perspective. While they are sometimes humorous, these misfits are usually unpleasant.  Critics have termed them "grotesque," but O'Connor has rejected this term because it suggests that the characters are too weird to belong in the real world.  Instead, O'Connor insists that the South is inhabited by many such people.

Unremitting human ugliness is a source of much of O’Connor's humor. She is able to present the dirty, the disfigured, and the stupid as also funny and recognizable as inhabitants of the real world. Because they are almost the only inhabitants of O’Connor's fictional world, they probably justify the term grotesque.

With such misfits--or grotesques, then, Miss O'Connor attacks moral issues with a satiric view.  Hulga, who wishes to carry a name as ugly as she feels, rejects all the platitudes of those who are considered "good country people," feeling herself superior to them.  However, she is duped by Manley Pointer, and while she is pitiable, she is also laughable as she sits in the hay loft, ironically facing her own illusions, wondering how she has allowed herself into such a situation, as well facing the dilemma of how she will climb down. Her physical deformity symbolizes, then, the deformity, too, of her soul.  Thus, with her satiric view of the world, O'Connor allows her readers to perceive a soul that has been as grotesque as its body. 


It makes them special.  Even though she thought herself to be ugly therefore changing her name to the ugliest one that came to mind, she still believed Manley Pointer who used this to get her to come along with him to the barn and also to get her to show him how to take off her leg.  Without this explanation, Joy would have been more suspicious of his intentions.  She believed that he was like Mrs. Freeman who also was interested in physical deformaties, so she didn't think twice about it until it was too late.  He played on natural feelings that Joy tried to keep herself from having , but in the end failed. 

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Good Country People

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