A Complete Summary Guide to Good Country People


Short stories have always been a part of academia, either as part of a major course or as a side addition that can help students learn something additional to what they want to learn. Good Country People is one of the short stories that has been written with the same ambition to educate people and is a major part of different courses in bachelor and masters to provide some side knowledge to the students. This blog is all about Good Country People summary, Good Country People analysis, and its various dimensions.

Introduction to story

An American writer named Flannery O'Connor wrote the story Good Country People as a part of classical literature. The writer completed this story in just four days, and it was one of the most celebrated works. The story was published in 1955 as a part of the book named; 'A Good Man is Hard to Find’. This story is a thorough and creative insight into the minds of modern people who are different inside and out. The story actually depicts a Southern society where people have some false experiences. The characters are named in terms of their existence and their approach to life. The story is written in terms of an omniscient narrator who is everywhere and gives thorough insights into the lives of people. In the same way, the title is an insight into the nature of the people living in the country, evaluating them in terms of their goodness.

The characters in Good Country People, Mr. and Mrs. Hopewell, are like their names, hopeful that their lifestyle will lead to a happy life. They live their life in a moral and better way; thus, they don't have to interact with people who have deceiving nature. Then, there is Hulga, who is an intellectual character; this story also interferes with her false administration by the people because of her intelligence. Thus, there is a threefold depiction of the characters, and it is hard to evaluate their contradictory nature. The story seems similar to that of a Rogerian argument outline in which there is a combination of ethos, pathos and logos to come up with a succinite description.

Summary of Good Country People

In Good Country People, Mrs. Hopewell has hired some farmers and tenants, whereas Freemans are the farmers who work on their farms. Mrs. Hopewell liked them because they were good, not like the previous ones who were called ‘trash’. Mrs. Hopeful never considers people good because of the abilities and compatibilities that she judges in different people.

In the same way, Mrs. Freeman is never willing to do anything wrong. She keeps herself busy, and it is why Mrs. Hopewell asks her to do work at her place; she helps Mrs. Hopewell to get the breakfast done and do some crucial discussion about the daughters and the weather. Mrs. Freeman and his family are considered good by Mrs. Hopewell, and the two daughters, Carramae and Glynese, are praised. Then, there is another character named Hulga who changed her name from Joy because of her degree in philosophy, which made her more ideal. She is called Joy by her mother, who still lives her the same, and is very forgiving and caring despite her arrogance. However, Joy lost her leg at the age of 10 during a hunting incident, and it is why she wears an artificial leg; also, Joy has a heart issue, and it is assumed that she will possibly survive for only ten years.

In contrast to her mother in Good Country People, Hulga is very indifferent, she is very educated, and it is why she detests people and religious views. She joins Mrs. Hopewell and Mrs. Freeman in different discussions. It would not be wrong to say that Mrs. Freeman is fascinated by Hulga's disability, and she has a nature of being happy over others' misfortunes. Contrarily, Hulga is living a disappointing life; she is never enjoying the company of people who are living around her and spends her time reading.

One day, Hulga is making her breakfast while Mrs. Freeman is praising her daughters, and Mrs. Hopewell is thinking about Hulga's interaction with Manley Pointer, who is a Bible salesman. On the last day, Hulga met Mr. Pointer, who asked Hulga about her atheistic beliefs, to which he did not have an answer himself. He tells Hulga that he is not a good match for her, but Hulga is impressed by his simplicity.

The Good Country People takes a new turn as Mr. Hopewell calls him for dinner because he resembles Joy as both have heart disease. During dinner, Mr. Pointer shares his views about how he loves helping people. The two people have a concise walk while Mr. Pointer was leaving after dinner. Hulga avoids discussion of Mr. Pointer with her mother, but she thinks she has given Pointer a new perspective to live life more freely; he has also made her fall for him with his kind compliments and jokes.

The next day, Hulga joins Pointer for a date where they talk precisely about religion and her wooden leg, to which she was not much responsive. They talk about subjects such as nothingness, God, and damnation and ask if they can find a comfortable place to sit. After sitting beside the barn, Mr. Pointer again kisses her and sits beside her. Mr. Pointer expresses his love, to which Hulga is reluctant in the beginning, but then she also confesses her love. This shows how the distractions of the world are too strong to overpower anyone, be it an intellectual mind or a pure soul. Here it is more like a descriptive essay in which the author paints a picture with words.

Mr. Pointer also asks Hulga to show him her wooden leg is attached, but Hulga denies it. He tells Hulga that this wooden leg makes her different from others, and it is one of the reasons he likes Hulga. Then, he not only sees where the leg is attached, but he keeps it aside. He made things worse by kissing her and then opening up the bible, which was actually hollow, and it had obscene playing cards and alcohol. Watching this, Hulga loses her romantic mood and asks Pointer to attach her leg, and calls him a hypocrite. Since it is more like casual analysis essay, one has to be confident about the reasoning that is developed.

As a response in Good Country People, Pointer packed his things and threw them along with Hulga’s wooden leg. He calls Hulga a foolish girl who is trapped by a smart person like him, inferring that his disbelief in religion is more empowering than Hulga’s disapproval of religious instructions. Hulga is now very disappointed and upset. Although Mrs. Freeman and Mrs. Hopewell saw him coming out of the wood, they thought he might be going to sell the bible to people, a clear insight into the conflict between reality and appearance. The summary of the story seems similar to that of an exemplification essay, in which the writer or the author takes help from different examples to prove something.

Important themes in the story

  • Love
  • The story, Good Country People depicts an important theme of love, the story shows how love is just a distraction, and it can both abuse and use someone. All the characters are somewhere altered by love; Hulga is rude because of the absence of love, then she is softened by the love of Mr. Pointer, and it again breaks her.

  • Appearance vs. reality
  • The story, Good Country People, is all about the difference between appearance and reality. There is a thorough description of the truth of the characters in Good Country People, which is influenced by the truth of the character. The author has presented a miniature of the social life of every human being, and the main characters in Good Country People have depicted it. One of the clear examples is the idea of Good People presented by Mrs. Hopewell, who judges people based on their class rather than their character.

    In Good Country People, Hulga changes her name to sound more intelligent and perfect, but it is not accepted by Mrs. Hopewell, who still calls her by her real name, i.e., Joy. Both Mrs. Freeman and Mrs. Hopewell never admit that they are wrong rather than judge people. In the same way, Joy is another illustration of reality and appearance contradiction; he entrapped Joy and tried to make a better image of himself in front of his family.

  • Religious Contradictions
  • Good Country People is a sharp and ironic insight into the difference between religion and its true implication. The characters seem to abuse religions, such as Mr. Pointer having a hollow bible. The writer has depicted a true distinction between believer and disbeliever and how a disbeliever might be purer and more innocent than a believer who has evil intentions in his heart and is always open more exploitation.

  • Identity crisis
  • In Good Country People, it is observed that all the characters in the story are going through an identity crisis. All the characters, such as Hulga, Mrs. Hopewell, and Mrs. Freeman, are presented to be something that they are not in reality. Mrs. Hopewell calls her previous tenants’ trash, while Mrs. Freeman always praises her daughter just to leave an impression on the audience. Then, Hulga changes her name out of an identity crisis, and Mr. Pointer portrays himself as a very pious and religious man; actually, he is not one.

  • Existence
  • All the characters in the story Good Country People seem to be conscious of their existence. All the characters are striving for their existence, and they are trying to make an impression with their identity. In the hustle of creating an impression, the characters have lost their true self, and it makes them fight for their identity, as Mrs. Freeman has no other topic except her daughters; Mrs. Hopewell discusses her daughter and moral good, while Hulga tries to portray herself as an educated and a literature person.


Generally, the title of the story, 'Good Country People, is ironic, as it is a satirical approach towards the nature of different characters in Good Country People. The author has used a descriptive and controversial writing style, with an omniscient writing style; the author has communicated how the modern world is more of a fabricated society that is deprived of its true nature. Good Country people's summary is a clear and evident insight into how well the author has managed to highlight the issues of the modern world.

The story, 'Good Country People, ' has a gothic genre, which is featured in the Southern part of the state. The gothic influence is depicted in the form of Mr. Pointer, his approach towards life, and a sudden twist in his character and how theta affected Hulga. The title of the story is another satire, which shows how apparently the good country people are actually the worst in their nature and are no more than a question mark on the positive features such as honesty, morality, and highly standardized acts.

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