51 pages 1 hour read

Flannery O'Connor

Good Country People

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1955

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“Good Country People”

  • Genre: Fiction; Southern Gothic short fiction
  • Originally Published: 1955
  • Reading Level/Interest: College/adult
  • Structure/Length: Short story; approx. 17 pages; 1,499 words
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Hulga (née Joy) Hopewell, the well-educated unmarried daughter of an intelligent Southern woman who makes a point of championing “good country people,” usually rejects her mother’s outlook but finds herself drawn in by the innocence of a Bible salesman who she thinks is in love with her, but who ultimately steals her wooden leg and leaves her stranded, mocking her for believing in him.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Passing mention of “Negroes” who exist on the margins of the white characters’ world

Flannery O’Connor, Author

  • Bio: 1925-1964; born in Savannah, Georgia; attended Catholic schools as a youth, in keeping with her family’s faith; finished an accelerated undergraduate program at Georgia State College for Women and studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; went on to publish two novels and two short story collections; known for her sharp social critiques of affectation, triviality, and religious hypocrisy, O’Connor has sustained criticism in recent years for the racist attitudes displayed in her letters; had and died from lupus, the same autoimmune illness that had killed her father, at 39 years old; posthumous recipient of the 1972 National Book Award for The Complete Stories
  • Other Works: Wise Blood (1952); A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955); The Violent Bear It Away (1960); Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965); The Complete Stories (1971)