What's in a Name?
The names in “Good Country People” are actually descriptive of the characters. One in particular is the character of Mrs. Hopewell. In short, she tends to be a very hopeful and well-to-do. She holds a hope in the goodness of the country people, and she uses cliches to help her explain and accept the vices of other people. Unfortunately, she holds a false reality and places her hope in those with less than honorable intentions for the most part.
Mrs. Hopewell lives in her own created reality. She is extremely out of touch with how the world truly is. This is symbolized through her belief that the “hope” in the world lies in those she feels are the “good country people,” yet those particular people are actually quite the opposite. As she states to Manly Pointer, she believes that “good country people are the salt of the earth.” What she intends this statement to mean is that it's the good, honest folks that make world a better place. However, based on the characters of this story, it's this type of people that give the world a little flavor or spice. The “hope” of the world isn't tied up into the simplest of people as Mrs. Hopewell believes it is, because those people actually aren't simple at all.
Being a very proud woman, Mrs. Hopewell has to manage dealing with her daughters behaviors and rather strange ways. One way she does this is with her common cliches. She frequently tells Mrs. Freeman that “it takes all kinds to make the world,” and she also tells Manly Pointer that “it takes all kinds to make the world go 'round.” Mrs. Hopewell uses these cliches to excuse and pardon the behaviors of others that she either doesn't understand or approve of. This happens quite often with her daughter, Joy.
Mrs. Hopewell tends to naively believe the good in people. As her name suggests, she has the “hope” that all is “well” with the “good country people” of the world. Despite her embarrassment with Hulga, she even tries to believe there is still...
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