O'Connor's Good Country People: Manley Pointer, a Two-Faced Con Artist

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Latez Bradley
February 15, 2012
English 221
Dr. Snelson

Good Country People

In the O’Connor’s Good Country People, Manley Pointer is seen as just that, a good country person, as stated by Mrs. Hopewell. She insists that Christian people like him are the “salt of the earth”. He is first seen as a traveling Bible salesman who wishes to become a missionary. Although at first glance he does seem to be a good Christian it turns out he isn’t Christian at all. Manley Pointer is nothing more than a two-faced con artist. As the story nears its end Manley reveals his true colors. Manley wants only to deceive and cripple those around him and we know this because of his interactions from when he first enters the house, the conversation he has with Hulga in the driveway, and from the scene at the barn. A theme that is evident in this story is that things are not what they seem to be. From the time Manley enters the house to when he walks out the door he gives a false account on who he is and what he does. Manley Pointer’s first sentence, “Good morning, Mrs. Cedars”, is one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Due to the name on the mailbox, Manley assumed that the household name was Cedars. His first assumption was incorrect, similar as to how Mrs. Hopewell assumed he (Manley) was a good country person in fact which he was not. As he talks to Mrs. Hopewell it is evident that minimal effort was devoted to selling the Bible. A normal salesman would leave after he knows no profit could be made, but he is different. He insists on staying. He wants to make a good impression on Mrs. Hopewell, in which he does. He makes a good enough impression to be invited to dinner; however, Mrs. Hopewell instantly regrets inviting him. We see another instance of the first judgment being off. After Manley leaves the house he has a conversation in the driveway with Hulga. As Manley approaches Hulga the intent Manley had is clearly sinister. The description of Manley was not an accident at all....
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