Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People”

In Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Good Country People,” Hulga is a woman who lives with her mother, Mrs. Hopewell, and has an artificial leg. Mrs. Freeman is a lady who was hired by Mrs. Hopewell to work around her property. A theme that seems to recurr in “Good Country People” is lying that becomes harsher each time. Mrs. Freeman works on tricking Mrs. Hopewell into leaving Hulga alone. She is constantly telling Mrs. Hopewell about each of her daughters and always gossiping. Perhaps she occupies Mrs. Hopewell because she does like her company.

On the other hand, Mrs. Freeman could have felt sorry for Hulga and tried to get and keep Mrs. Hopewell’s attention so that Hulga could have a temporary reprieve from her mother. Hulga is the second person who fibs in order to do something. She lies about her age to the young man selling Bibles, Manley Pointer. Hulga tells him that she is seventeen in order to make him believe he is superior in age and intelligence so that she can get into his bed. When they climb up to the second story of the barn, he removes her wooden leg and she finally tells him that she is thirty years old and possesses several college degrees.

Pointer just laughs and continues on. Manley Pointer is probably the most lying, conniving little twerps that exists. Pointer giggles and tells Hulga the story. He comes to the home of Mrs. Hopewell and Hulga, hoping to sell them a Bible; however, when they refuse to buy one, he becomes distressed and finds a way to stay for dinner. Pointer makes a date with Hulga to meet at the gate and they continue to the second floor of the red barn. Here, he removes her leg, rendering Hulga motionless, and laughs in her face.

Pointer insinuates that Hulga is stupid despite her degrees because she believed what he had dished out to her and her mother all night. He admits to have done it before and that he will do it again. Lying is something that comes naturally to some people at different degrees over time. Mrs. Freeman had lied about her interest in Mrs. Hopewell’s business so that Hulga could have time away from her mother. Hulga had lied about her age just so she could have sex. Manley Pointer lied about his career and his personal life just to steal Hulga’s wooden leg as a sort of trophy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *