Beauty in Good Country People

In “Good Country People” many power dynamics are presented which help shape the story and allow a better understanding of each character. A particular one I picked up on was BEAUTY/ugliness. Mrs. Freeman constantly boasts about her daughters’ attractiveness, how one is already married and the other has a line of suitors. In contrast, Mrs. Hopewell’s daughter, Hulga, is not particularly attractive. Rather, she’s focused on her education and being successful academically, though she’s limited in these advancements due to her weak heart and prosthetic leg.

Further, Mrs. Hopewell believes and states that beauty extends to the personality and characteristics of a person not just their physical appearance. Again, Hulga would not be deemed beautiful under this definition because of her negative outlook on life and behavior towards others.

During and after reading this, I believe that Mrs. Freeman often brings up the beauty of her daughters and Glycene’s endless options of men because it makes her more equal to Mrs. Hopewell; as Mrs. Freeman works for her so there’s a BOSS/employee dynamic and a WEALTHIER/poorer one. It’s possible that in some way it’s enjoyable for Mrs. Freeman to discuss them because she knows Mrs. Hopewell won’t have a response and will simply agree or compliment them. This also renders the question of, does Mrs. Freeman talk about this because she knows Hulga can hear them?

Ultimately, we will never know Mrs. Freeman’s true intentions or the raw feelings on either womens’ side, but it is something to contemplate and consider.

2 thoughts on “Beauty in Good Country People

  1. Alaiya J.

    I recognized this power dynamic when I read the story too. It made me consider why we put beauty, and the attention people get from it, on a pedestal when sometimes that attention can be more harmful that not getting any at all.

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  2. Grace H.

    I think the points you make are very important. I believe Ms. Freeman is a bit of a jealous woman and maybe wants to feel superior to Ms. Hopewell. I understand in this time period, a women’s looks were valued over her intelligence so Ms. Freeman made sure everyone understood how beautiful her daughters were. However, based on Ms. Hopewell’s daughter, Hulga, she most likely understands the importance of smarts as well.

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