Good Country People

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In the short story, “Good Country People,” Flannery O’Connor tells us that everyone’s lives can be torn by acts of weakness and evil. Everyone has a weakness of some sort, just like the characters of this story did. People often put on fronts and they don’t act themselves. Evil is everywhere. Everyone has their faults and there is no such thing as a faultless person. One of Mrs. Hopewell’s favorite sayings “Nothing is perfect,” is seen in the very beginning of the story (O’Connor 131). This quote seems to be portraying the way she sees life.

Later on in the story, we find out that her saying is correct, but she does not live by this. Mrs. Hopewell always hopes for the best, but she has a weak heart when it comes to those who maybe suffering from a disease. Manley Pointer, who is considered a devil-like evil character, intrudes on Mrs. Hopewell’s weakness. Her weakness is to invite him to dinner and to invite him to return to her home. Glynese and Carramae, referred to by Joy-Hulga as “Glycerin and Caramel,” are minor characters, but they show a great deal of weakness.

These two characters are stuck in unhappy situations. They both rely on the things they have rather than on themselves. Mrs. Hopewell would say that, “Glynese and Carramae are both fine girls” (O’Connor 136). She would also say that she admired them for their common sense and that not many girls had what they had (O’Connor 137). Glynese is dating a guy named Harvey Hill. He asked her to marry him, but she says, “She would rather marry a man with only a ’36 Plymouth who would be married by a preacher” (O’Connor 137).

Her focus is on material goods rather than the man she plans to marry. Carramae is already married at the age of fifteen. Their lives don’t really seem that interesting to talk about because of the situation they are in. Joy-Hulga is easily the most taken advantage of character in the entire story. She appears to be ugly and evil, but deep down she has this desire for love and happiness. She has hidden desires that cause her problems later on in this story. After years of education and self-absorption, Joy-Hulga felt that she had no weaknesses.

Joy-Hulga doesn’t want to be reminded of her own weakness because they are very hurtful from her days as a child. Manley Pointer puts her into a position where she is felt loved and that she can feel comfortable. She decides to let her guard down. When she admits to him that she loves him, he takes on the power and before she knows it, her glasses are off and he has removed her leg. Despite her education, she didn’t see it coming that he was using her and this is where she felt her weakness. Manley Pointer is the evil character of this story.

He has fooled Mrs. Hopewell and Joy-Hulga into thinking he is this good Christian with a disease who may not live long. But, with Joy-Hulga, he shows his real character. He says to her, “‘I hope you don’t think that I believe in that crap'” (O’Connor 142). He makes using and putting people down his main objective in life. “‘I use a different name at every house I call at and I don’t stay nowhere long'” (O’Connor 142). Mrs. Hopewell considered Manley Pointer as “a good country person” but unfortunately, he is represented as an evil person.

Several people in this story appear to be one thing and end up being just the opposite. The most obvious is Manley Pointer who appears to be “good country folk” and ends up being the root of all evil. Evil is under our noses all the time. “Then she (Mrs. Freeman) returned her attention to the evil-smelling onion shoot she was lifting from the ground” (O’Connor 143). Manley Pointer walks right by as she picks up the “evil-smelling” onion. We must all be aware of evil and for most people we will be beaten at our own game. People must learn about themselves before they start to rely on other people.

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