“Good country people” is a short story by Flannery O’Connor, a prominent American writer. It is imperative to mention that it can be regarded as one of the most interesting works by the author, and is considered a masterpiece by some. It has a broad range of interesting characters, but Manley Pointer is the one that stands out the most. He is an individual that is mysterious and can become a part of any environment thanks to his intellect and charisma to take advantage of other people.
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“He had opened the suitcase and was sitting with a Bible on each knee” can be described as one of the moments that define the character (O’Connor 4). It needs to be mentioned that it is a moment that is symbolic because Manley takes all the necessary measures to ensure that people that surround him believe that he is a real Christian. His words are sharp, and his actions are moving at the same time. One would not be able to recognize his true intentions at first glance. “People like you don’t like to fool with country people like me!” is another quote that is worthy of a discussion (O’Connor 4).
It should be noted that Manley is trying to gain sympathy and take advantage of the fact that another character is incredibly kind, and this is a key phrase that allows him to identify her weakness. “He said he was the seventh child of twelve and that his father had been crushed under a tree when he himself was eight years old” is another quote that is symbolic (O’Connor 4). It is imperative to say that none of this may be true, or it may only be partially real, and Manley is making up a new story of his life every single time a new prey is found. It is also important to mention that he utilizes the information that he was able to gain. For example, Manley heard that she was suffering from a heart condition and made up a story to establish a particular connection.
It can be seen that he is capable of identifying people’s weaknesses. For example, “his gaze seemed somehow familiar, but she could not think where she had been regarded with it before” (O’Connor 6). This quote indicates that he could abuse people’s emotions, and his acting was believable. He understands what to do and what to say at the right time and charms Hulga. He did not look at her as a romantic interest, and his intentions were different. The fact that he was able to fake emotions, and could look her in the eyes and reproduce sincerity is especially worrying. She was an atheist but was willing to accept his views because she liked him.
“It was like losing her own life and finding it again, miraculously, in his” suggests that she believed that he was truly innocent, and it was something that she has been waiting for years (O’Connor 8). It is also necessary to mention that she wanted to trust him, and agreed that he might take her leg off. It would be hard to imagine the misery in her eyes once she realizes that something is not right, and it is entirely possible that this event would damage her emotionally for the rest of her life. He was the first person that she wanted to see in her life, but he felt no remorse and seen no guilt in his actions. She was incredibly smart but still was not able to see through him until the very last moment.
The fact that she was able to realize that Manley is trying to take advantage of her is vital because she can see his true self. It is necessary to mention that it was probably too late at that point, and he is not afraid to reveal his true intentions once his prey realizes what he was trying to accomplish. “I may sell Bibles, but I know which end is up, and I wasn’t born yesterday, and I know where I’m going!” can be viewed as a critical moment (O’Connor 9). It is paramount to mention that it indicates that the character did not care about the Bible or religion at all, and was using people around him for his benefits.
The author wanted to ensure that the reader understands that there is nothing holy for Manley, and he will use all the means necessary to achieve what he desires. It is also interesting that this character may be viewed as a particular form of Devil because there are numerous similarities between them and the way they act. It is necessary to mention that deception is a core part of this character, and can use and manipulate people that surround him, and take advantage of the fact that they trust him. Mrs. Hopewell can see that there is something weird about this person, and it should be noted that he had a particular aura that surrounded him.
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“But I guess the world would be better off if we were all that simple” is another quote that needs to be discussed (O’Connor 9). The author suggests that many individuals think that they can identify all the threats that surround them and can be easily cheated. The fact that Manley was able to deceive so many people is truly worrying, and the biggest problem is that he was hiding behind the word of God.
His motives also need to be discussed. It is interesting that he wanted to do evil deeds because he understood that he is capable of it and can get away with it. Another significant aspect that should not be overlooked is that the suffering of people was something that brought him more power, and it was a single meaning of his life. He tries to find people that struggle the most at particular points in their lives and is determined to abuse their weaknesses. The end of the story is also worrying because people that see him continue to regard him as completely innocent. Only one person realized that there was something wrong, and people cannot be as simple as he is in this world.
In conclusion, it is evident that Manley is an individual that can take advantage of others because of his personal qualities. The author wanted to draw attention to a significant issue that needs to be discussed. It is a fact that individuals trust some people without thinking when they should think twice before listening to their advice. Overall, there are different ways to interpret this story, but deception needs to be regarded as one of the core themes.
O’Connor, Flannery. “Good Country People.” Ayersamazingwiki. Ayersamazingwiki, n.d. Web.