Verbal Irony In Good Country People

1378 Words 6 Pages
In the short story, “Good Country People” three different types of irony are employed by the author Flannery O 'Connor. Verbal, situational and dramatic irony are among the most important elements that writers use to highlight a contrast between what seems and what actually is. Once the reader is aware of this difference he gains valuable insight about the characters and their real selves. The characters in this story believe they understand themselves and others around them, but they are mistaken. Mrs. Hopewell and her daughter Hulga are both blinded by their deeply held convictions regarding the goodness of people, while Mrs. Freeman and Manly take advantage of their inability to see people’s true selves.
The title of this short story “Good
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Their intentions do not match the words they speak. One good example is of Manly Pointer, the bible salesman. Mrs. Hopewell is not pleased to find this man in her parlor at dinnertime and Pointer is aware of her annoyance. She invites him to stay to dinner but regrets her decision instantly. He can also tell that Hulga does not want him here and asks her mother to get rid of him, but he praises their honesty. Pointer says, “you don’t see any more real honest people unless you go way out in the country” and she replies “real genuine folks!” (O 'Connor pg 1637) Mrs. Hopewell also momentarily warmed by his false story of being a simple country boy and says “good country people are the salt of the earth!” which is ironic because the readers know that the opposite is true (O 'Connor pg 1637) Mrs. Hopewell and Manny Pointer both have good things to say about each other, but do not truly mean them. Mrs. Hopewell is being nice because she cannot be rude to anyone, and Manny Pointer is putting up a false show just so he could sell his bibles and take advantage of their …show more content…
The information that the readers can get from understanding these ironic elements is valuable because sometimes, the characters themselves are not aware of it. One example of dramatic irony is Mrs. Hopewell’s words at the end of the story when she sees Manny Pointer running away from the barn. She says that he was a simple man and that “the world would be better off if we were all that simple” (O 'Connor pg 1644) Little did she know that Pointer had stolen her daughter’s leg and left her lying helpless before making his escape. Flannery O 'Connor’s use of irony show how the characters fail to acknowledge their true selves and identify the truth in

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