Good Country People: Manley Pointer; A Symbol of the Devil

             "Good Country People," by Flannery O'Conner is not so much about good country people, but rather the extent to which country people can be good. In other words, it is a depiction of the fraud of misrepresenting yourself, and O'Conner makes this point in her depiction of Manley Pointer. Manley Pointer visits selling Bibles and refuses to leave without stealing something, anything and being cruel and deceptive in the process. Ultimately, this portrayal of Manley Pointer as a deceiver with ulterior motives can be seen to symbolize the devil, and the process by which he deceives is a reflection on how the devil operates. One must overcome the devil through a realization of his deceptions, as did Joy in the epiphany at the end of the story, however "Good Country People" is a warning of the threat of evil that lurks if one is not aware.
             Manley Pointer begins his web of deception by appearing too good to be true to Joy, thus illustrating the early steps of the devil's deception. Upon first encounter, Manley is overly friendly and Christian, speaking in a good 'ole country vernacular telling Mrs. Hopewell that the "word of God ought to be in every room in the house besides in his heart." This helps give off the appearance that he is a true Christian and he uses more deception to be invited into the home, by lying about his job, his aspirations, and most significantly his heart condition. By relating his heart condition to that of Joy, he is able to receive empathy and get closer to his goal of deception, yet all along Mrs. Hopewell feels something is not right this stranger. Overall, the way he presents himself is of a perfect Christian, simple down to Earth young man, and thus as someone who would be very appealing to "Good Country People." "Good country people are the salt of the earth!" he exclaims, in a false attempt to appeal to those he is visiting. This ...

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Good Country People: Manley Pointer; A Symbol of the Devil. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:23, August 08, 2022, from