Thesis on Flannery O'Connor's Good Country People

Topics: Short story, Flannery O'Connor, William Faulkner Pages: 3 (861 words) Published: July 1, 2008
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 façade 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...
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