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Good Country People

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Thesis Statement: In Flannery O'Connor's short story "Good Country People," the expulsion of the outside world allows for more emphasis on the symbolic nature of each of the active characters.

I. The Kitchen

A. Introduction of the characters

B. Symbolic use of names in and Hope.well

C. Introduction of the outside world

II. The Bible Salesman

A. The faÐ"§ade of names

B. The absence of other men

C. Separation from the Outside world

III. The Barn Loft

A. Opening the gate for failure

B. Scaling the ivory tower

C. Widening the scope from detail to general

In the short story "Good Country People," by Flannery O'Connor the world is made smaller in order to look with great scrutiny at the players of this game of life. There is very little going on of consequence in the action plot, but massive movement in the character arc. In order to achieve this O'Connor focuses in on the key personality traits of the characters. The narrator first introduces two families of social classes that are stratified by money, yet paralleled in some ways. Mrs. Hopewell, a widowed mother of an adult child, lives in a neatly circumscribed life of documented social correctness. Her daughter Hulga, whom has changed her name from Joy, lives with her mother in only a physical sense. She sees herself as above the country by virtue of a higher education. In this case, a PhD in Philosophy which frightens her mother and does nothing to alleviate her self imposed confinement in the rural setting. Mrs. and Mr. Freeman are introduced with their daughters Glynese, and Caramae. Of the four only Mrs. Freeman is seen in the story as a participant, the others used as a means to further the argument of sound common sense and hearth wisdom. Examples of these are the discussions of marriage in the church vs. the courthouse, chiropractic care for a sty, and the eating of prunes to alleviate cramping.

The symbolism of the chosen names is clear, and O'Connor places a great deal of emphasis on them. For example, Hulga's choice of shifting from Joy to a name which reminds her of Vulcan is discussed at some length. After loosing her leg at the age of ten, and remaining aware for the entire episode, she is stripped of the capacity for Joy, and Hope both. The Freeman name is a direct play on the status of the family as tenant farmers, as while Mrs. Freeman may come in and rest her elbow on the refrigerator as she likes, the family is certainly not free, nor will they ever enjoy the social or financial freedom of the Hopewells. This last name is likewise given a dual meaning. Mrs. Hopewell in simply incapable of doing less than assuming all is well that ends well. The bible salesman even alludes to a direct play on the family



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