What could be a thesis statement for the short story "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor?

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hgarey71 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your thesis statement is your position and lets your readers know what you intend to prove in your essay. The following are some ideas of possible positions you could take on Flannery O'Connor's short story, "Good Country People."

  • Flannery O'Connor's use of situational irony in this story highlights the motivations of the characters. Joy, who renamed herself Hulga, is Mrs. Hopewell's thirty-two-year-old daughter with a false leg and a Ph.D. She meets a simple young man who is selling Bibles door-to-door, and is described by her mother as "salt of the earth." She believes he is innocent but is fooled when he uses her intellectual vanity to rob her. 
  • Flannery O' Connor's story "Good Country People" is a study of the ways in which people deceive each other and themselves. Mrs. Hopewell deludes herself into thinking that if she has enough hope, things will turn out well for her daughter. She works at not seeing her daughter for who she is, but who she wants her to be. Joy/ Hulga uses her intellectual pride as a shield to keep others from knowing her in intimate ways. When she does concede to let someone in, Manley Pointer, she finds that he has deceived her completely. Manley Pointer is able to see Joy/ Hulga's weakness and exploit it for his own personal gain. He deceives others as a career and pastime. 
  • No one is what they appear to be, especially not Good Country People. Mrs. Hopewell had a value of simple, honest, good people. She distinguishes this type of people from "trash." No one she knew, though—including herself—fit her description of Good Country People. Her daughter was sullen, dishonest, and prideful. Her help, Mrs. Freeman, was unable to admit wrongdoing in any way. Manley Pointer presented himself as good country folk, but he was a liar and con man. Mrs. Hopewell herself was self-deluded and shallow. She pretended to be kind and caring, but it was superficial at best.
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Good Country People

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