Good County People
Question: “How the character names are important and what do they symbolize.”
In Good Country People, by Flannery O’ Conner, we are told to believe that country people are “the salt of the earth” which is mentioned in Matthew (5:13-16) and is said by Mrs. Hopewell a handful of times throughout the story. Salt in old days was considered collective but essential and reliable for preserving meat. When Mrs. Hopewell refers to country people as being “the salt of the earth” she is referring to genuine and dependable people. O’ Conner uses “good country people” as a means to show stereotypes in people, which signifies values of characters, objects, and events throughout the story. In reality, even good “country” people have imperfections inside them that are not visible to others.
The first character mentioned in detail is Mrs. Freeman, who is a tenant farmer for the Hopewell’s. The last name Freeman represents both her personality and status as a human being. Mrs. Hopewell viewed the Freeman’s as “good country people” who were very reliable and honest, which was something hard to find in others. Moreover, when interacting with others Mrs. Freeman has two expressions she presents: forward and reverse. She was a free-minded person, very nosey about other’s business, and could never be brought to admit herself wrong at any point. Mr. Freeman states in the beginning of the story, “She’s got to be into everything, if she don’t get there before the dust settles, you can bet she’s dead, that’s all” (O’ Conner 445). Another aspect about Mrs. Freeman is that she fascinated about other’s secret illnesses, infections, hidden deformities, and assaults upon children. For instance, when Mrs. Hopewell would share details about Hulga’s hunting accident, Mrs. Freeman seemed so interested in it that she could hear it a countless number of times and still be amused. Mrs. Freeman was always out to look for the negative secrets...
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