This is an essay about the short story Good Country People by Flannery O'Connor.

The Concept of Evil in Good Country People

In “Good Country People,” O’Connor gives the reader an interesting picture of evil and how different people deal with evil. O’Connor shows that while people may appear to be different on the surface, they all have a similar blindness to evil.

The character Pointer represents evil in the story. Even though Pointer is a Bible-seller and even though he claims to be a good “Chrustian,” beneath his facade lies a heart of theft, deceit, and unbelief. Pointer claims to be a Christian so that he can get what he wants. He pretends to be innocent and good to mask the fact that all he really wants is to steal Hulga’s false leg.

Mrs. Hopewell deals with evil by pretending that it does not exist – at least not in the people she deems to be good Christians. Because Hopewell has kept her Bible “in the attic somewhere,” she does not seem to have much of a concept of what goodness and holiness is (Good Country People 1995). Therefore, when she encounters evil she does not recognize it. Hopewell relies heavily on her own statements and feelings in order to determine what is good and because of this she completely overlooks Pointer’s evil nature.

Hulga approaches good and evil from a completely different perspective. Hulga is an atheist who believes that, “We are all damned...some of us have taken off our blindfolds and see that there’s nothing to see” (2001). Hulga does not see a dichotomy between good and evil exists simply because she does not seem to believe that good and evil exist at all. As the story progresses and Hulga finds herself trusting Pointer, she begins to believe that if anyone is good and innocent, it must be him. However, when she sees him for the thief and the fake that he is, she realizes that she, like Mrs. Hopewell, has overlooked Pointer’s capacity for evil.

Work Cited

O'Conner, Flannery. "Good Country People" Norton Anthology of American Literature. 8th ed. Ed. Nina Baym, et al. New York: Norton and Company, 2006. 1995-2001. Print.