People Skills versus Formal Education in Good Country People by Flannery O'Connor

565 Words 3 Pages
People Skills versus Formal Education in Good Country People by Flannery O'Connor

"Never let your schooling get in the way of your education" -Mark Twain

"Good Country People", by Flannery O’Connor, presents us with a look into the monotonous lives of three women living together on a rural farm. All three women are set in their old-fashioned ways, having experienced very little of life, out on the farm. A bible salesman named Manley Pointer, appearing like nothing more than simple, "good country people"(1), pays them a visit one day. It turns out that this simple countryboy is actually a brilliant con artist who scams the pretentious daughter, Hulga (also known as Joy) into removing her wooden leg, which he proceeds to
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Hulga has very little interaction with anyone at all, besides her mother and their tenant Mrs. Freeman. Hulga failed to see the idea shown in the above Mark Twain quote.
Hulga, throughout her life has been starved for affection and loving attention. Pointer is able to get her to succumb to his wishes so easily because she is amazed that someone sincerely wants to be with her, or so it seems. Ever since she was ten, she has had her wooden stump leg, and her heart problem to live with. More recently, Hulga’s weight problem is another obstacle that adds to her isolation. Combined with her condescending attitude, these encumbrances have succeeded to separate her from mainstream society. Pointer realizes this and is able to use it to his advantage; he knows all the right things to say to her. In the hayloft, Hulga hears fond admiration for what is quite possibly one of the first times in her life. As a result, the customarily very independent, strong-willed Hulga is completely under the control of an uneducated man half her age. "It’s what makes you different. You ain’t like anybody else….She decided that for the first time in her life, she was face to face with real innocence. This boy, with an instinct that came beyond wisdom, had touched the truth about her"(404). Pointer is one of the few people in her life who was able to see the real Hulga; he saw through the cold façade. Thanks to Mr. Pointer, Hulga
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