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The Ugly Truth about Good Country People
In “Good Country People” Flannery O’Conner (1955) Hulga plans to seduce a young Bible salesman. As they begin to talk up in the loft, the young Bible salesman transforms into the seducer and gets Hulga to remove her wooden leg along with her dignity. Hulga was thinking she was the victimizer turned into the victim with an opening of the salesman’s briefcase revealing a hollowed out Bible filled with whiskey, pornographic playing cards, condoms and other fake limbs. Soon she realized her leg and her dignity belong to the good ol’ country boy. Hulga hissed “you’re a Christian! You’re a fine Christian” (O’conner).In the short story of “Good Country People” the narrator shows true resentments, deception, evil and every aspect of the relationships throughout the story represent the “ugly love”.
The focus is Hulga and her wooden leg, however it begins with a description of Mrs. Freeman and her interactions with Mrs. Hopewell. Mrs. Hopewell believes the Freemans to be “good country people.” Later, she decides that Manley must also come from “good country people,” which turns out to be a total misconception. When he tells her that he is just a simple country boy, she answers, “Why! Good country people are the salt of the earth!”(O'Conner)
Mrs. Hopewell's veiws of "good country" philosophy are such old standards as "You're the wheel behind the wheel," "It takes all kinds to make the world," and "Everybody is different." But, significantly, Mrs. Hopewell cannot reconcile herself to a daughter who is "different." Mrs. Hopewell would probably sum up her inability to understand her daughter-with-a-Ph.D. by saying, "She's brilliant, but she doesn't have a grain of sense." Consequently, Mrs. Hopewell considers Hulga's acts of rebellion to be little more than pranks of an immature mind. Hulga's own attitude toward the two Freeman girls is one of repulsion. She calls them "Glycerin" and "Caramel" (oily and sticky sweet). Mrs. Hopewell is aware that Hulga has a deep need to be accepted — Hulga states that "If you want me, here I am — LIKE I AM."(O'Conner)Pointer's final comment strips Hulga of her last resource and leaves her feeling destroyed. "And I'll tell you another thing," Pointer says, "You ain't so smart. I been believing in nothing ever since I was born."(O'Conner)
The image of what Mrs. Hopewell considers “good country people” is alot like my own thoughts of such disgust with the world in general, which is prevalent in many of O’Connor’s stories. In conclusion, It’s a simple fact that there are lots of evil people that portray good characters,however it is up to an individual "to expect the worst and hope for the best."Takeing chances like Hulga did --- trusting a stranger in my opinion is foolish. It is up to the individual to choose proper evaluation and gain knowledge to see the truth in a person. My grandmother would say “you can tell by their eyes”. Beware of the ugly love people hide within themselves. I feel if a person wants you to believe in something bad enough they will do anything to convince you.