Gullibility Hypocrisy

In Flannery OíConnorsís "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," "Good

Country People," and "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," she explores the
consequences of the combination of hypocrisy, gullibility in social contacts,
and the role of being raised at motherís knee. Reared a strict Roman Catholic
and writing in the Bible Belt South OíConnor encountered those character flaws
first hand. The repetitive hypocrisy displayed in these three short stories is
portrayed by only the men suggesting that OíConnor has certain issues with
men. Tom Shiftlet in "The Life You Save May be Your Own," wearing his black
town suit and brown hat met these two women, Lucynell Crater Sr. and her
daughter Lucynell Jr. OíConnor depicted him as "a tramp and no one to be
afraid of," but in reality he is a man who makes and breaks his claims and it
the process blemishing his companyís spirit. When he claims, "I canít get
married right now," and later the trio goes into town to marry Mr. Shiflet and

Lucynell Jr. is exactly the aim OíConnor wants to get across, hypocritical
men. One may accidentally utter one statement and then act on the contrary, but
in this short story Mr. Shiflet makes many remarks on his beliefs and almost
opposing every one. One may inherit the impression that he is quite foolish by
all of his self-righteous talk when he says people lie too much and later
telling the youth she was a hitchhiker. On his way to Tuscaloosa he picks up a
boy who only spoke telling him, "You go to the devil!" Both the boy and

Lucynell Jr. represent innocence in this story and that opens Mr. Shifletís
numb mind forcing him to change his perspective. Similar to Mr. Shiflet, yet not
as repetitive as his hypocritical ways, the Bible salesman in "Good Country

People," says "I may sell bibles but I know which end is up." This young
manís purpose in the beginning of the story is to sell a bible to a woman who
refuses to buy one and later to the daughter. A blatant example of his inherit
hypocrisy is also seen by Hulga when she says: "Youíre just like them all
Ė say one thing and do another. Youíre a perfect Christian, youíre..."

OíConnor outright expresses what she feels in all three of these short stories
in that brief comment. With men being hypocrites and women being gullible,

OíConnor shows how well the two mix with each other. When Mr. Shiflet and

Lucynell Sr. first meet he comments: "How you know I ainít Aaron Sparks,
lady, and I come from Singleberry, Georgia, or how you know itís not George
speeds and I come from Lucy, Alabama, or how you know I ainít Thompson Bright
from Toolafalls, Mississippi." This is suggesting to the reader he actually
could say any of them or any other far-fetched information and the Lucynell Sr.
would most likely believe it. OíConnor is portraying how the women of the

South do not have a mind of their own, but a universal southern mind in which
does not protest or contradict anyone, but rather being close minded to the
reality of the world that people lie. Just after meeting with the visitor

Lucynell Sr. allows Mr. Shiflet to sleep in a car and fix miscellaneous items in
exchange for meals. This is a very assertive action she takes, but since she
believes him to be a harmless man she would never expect the proceeding events.

Paralleling with "Good Country People," OíConnor portrays the Freemanís
in the same situation as the Carters. Mrs. Freeman being approached by a
persistent bible salesman is forced to make a decision and when he says "Iím
just a country boy," she immediately turns into a helpless pawn under his
control. After he interjects that comment she now trusts him and this is when

OíConnor represents the times women are most vulnerable to gullibility. A
short while after Hulga has got to know the bible salesman she realizes that all
of these die-hard "Chrustians" are all hypocrites and is the only one
throughout the three stories who has this insight. Another common thread between
the these short stories by OíConnor is they all depict the man in the story as
being "raised at motherís knee." Meaning that they sat on their motherís
knee while she read them the bible and greatly pampered them. Mr. Shiftletís
opinion on his mother is: "She taught him his first prayers at her knee, she