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THIS IS MY PLACE /
"I think it's terrific—
one of the best adaptations
of a short story I've seen."
[...] The most successfully humorous short film of O'Connor's work is Good Country People
of all the films, this one falls most clearly into the comic grotesque tradition of the middle Georgia humor,
whose structure, different from the other narrative patterns, exploits the surprise ending format to its full comic
dimensions. profaning the sacred in order to ridicule hypocrisy..."
— "THIS IS MY PLACE": The Short Films
Made From Flannery O'Connor's Short Fiction
by Jane Elizabeth Archer
MEDIA MIX /
Only a reader familar with with the worlds of Ms. O'Connor could read a plot summary
of Good Country People
and understand it is not a short story from the paraplegic edition of
. Hulga is a sullen, 36-year-old woman with a Ph.D. in philosophy, a bad heart from
a childhood hunting accident, a wooden leg, and a view of life gained entirely from books. She
lives on a farm with her mother and seems to have no interest in life.
But along comes a bumbling Bible salesman who endears himself to Hulga's mother by explaining
"I'm just a country boy" and reassuring the farm lady that "good country people are the salt of the earth."
Hulga and the salesman hate each other but are able to form a strange bond (in the world of O'Connor, all
personal relationships are "strange") based on the shared belief they both might die.
He invites her on a "picnic walk in the woods," and Hulga accepts, being too naive to realize the Bible
salesman is a con man out to take advantage of her by rules other than those in the Bible. They climb into
a hayloft, he slobbers her with kisses and insists she admit she loves him. About love Hulga explains,
"It's not a word I use, I don't have illusions. I'm one of those persons who sees through to nothing.
We are all damned. Some of us have taken off our blindfolds and see there is nothing to see—it's a kind of
salvation." In Hulga's economy it is the Bible salesman who is damned and she who is saved. Perhaps it is
out of pity that she allows him to kiss her and admits finally that she loves him "in a sense." He asks "prove it"
and wants to see her artificial leg because "it's what makes you different."
She shows him her limb; he takes it off, hugs it, and hides it in his suitcase along with his pornographic playing cards, whisky,
and parts of other people. As he explains, "I once time got a woman's glass eye this way." He abandons Hulga in the hayloft, legless, and
emptied even of her emptiness. His parting line after the ultimate con is "Hulga, you ain't so smart. I've been believing in nothing
ever since I was born."
Good Country People
features excellent casting and acting and is well directed by
Jeffrey F. Jackson.
— Media Mix