What religious values are in "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sin is one of the critical themes of Christian teaching, and if we look towards Roman Catholic theology, we can observe the categorization of the seven deadly sins. I'd suggest that, thematically speaking, "Good Country People" hinges around the sin of pride. Mrs. Hopewell and Hulga are both prideful in ways that make one another miserable. Hopewell is prideful in her self-identification with respectability. At the same time, Hulga holds a pronounced sense of intellectual superiority over the people around her, on account of her education and atheistic worldview. Meanwhile, there is Manley Pointer, who is able to exploit this pride, appealing to Hopewell's sense of country respectability and Hulga's intellectual pretensions. In that respect, their pride ultimately renders them vulnerable to manipulation.

In addition to being a story about sin (particularly the sin of pride), this story can also be framed as one about an encounter with evil. In many respects, Hulga (sheltered as she is)...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 811 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 7, 2020