Why does Mrs. Freeman get the last word and what does it mean?
In "Good Country People," Mrs. Hopewell says, "He was so simple . . . but I guess the world would be better off if we were all that simple." Mrs. Freeman responds, "Some can't be that simple . . . . I know I never could".
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With a style that hides themes in plain sight, Flannery O'Connor has Mrs. Freeman of "Good Country People" comment unsuspectingly upon the Bible salesman, Manley Pointer. This comment expresses a trope of O'Connor's: Salvation is often effected through violent experiences. In fact, some critics see Hulga as a Christ figure while Critic Gilber H. Muller states that this use of the grotesque is not gratuitous; rather, it is employed in order "to reveal underlying and essentially theological concepts."
Without realizing the import of her words, Mrs. Freeman, a simple woman herself, points to the sins of Hulga: her high-held and vain intellectualism. When she is humbled by Pointer by her gullibility, Hulga has nothing left to believe in. Yet, with her nothingness, Hulga is finally open to believe in something else, even if it is evil, but whether she will be converted is questionable. This openness after having nothing is what O'Connor means by the comments about being simple by Mrs. Hopewell and Mrs. Freeman.
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