Good Country People Questions and Answers
by Flannery O’Connor

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What makes the title of the story, "Good Country People", ironic?

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Heather Garey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Flannery O'Connor's short story entitled "Good Country People," the title is ironic for a few reasons.

Mrs. Hopewell is the character that uses the phrase most often. She first uses it to speak of Mrs. Freeman, who is a tenant on her farm. She uses the phrase in a demeaning way, to show that Mrs. Freeman is inferior to her. She talks about them almost as her property, certainly as her underlings. Mrs. Hopewell judges people as either "good country people" or as "trash." She is willing to put up with many annoyances in order to have the good country people around her because she's had enough experiences with trash. O'Connor never addresses it directly but gives the reader many clues that Mrs. Hopewell and her daughter Joy are the ones who are the problem, rather than the folks that never stayed in her employment for more than a year—the ones she refers to as trash. When Mrs. Hopewell was checking references before she hired the Freemans, this is what she found out about them:

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