Good Country People

Hulga’s mother, Mrs. Hopewell’s name is a pun on the breezy outlook she has of the world. Her conventional worldview is based on a simplistic assessment of herself at the top and the classes “beneath” her as either made up of “good country people,” meaning rural people who work hard and are honest, and “trash,” dishonest people who, Mrs. Hopewell believes, are strictly untrustworthy and live in filth. She believes herself to be able to easily distinguish between these classes, a sense that of course reaffirms her own belief in her superiority. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hopewell gossips regularly with her employee and tenant, Mrs. Freeman. Mrs. Hopewell recognizes that Mrs. Freeman is nosy, but prides herself on putting that to good use: if Mrs. Freeman wants to be in charge everything, Mrs. Hopewell believes, then let her. It is clear, though, that Mrs. Freeman’s habit of telling Mrs. Hopewell whatever she wants to hear gives Mrs. Hopewell a false sense of her own good judgment. Though skeptical of Hulga’s philosophical tendencies, Mrs. Hopewell is at times sympathetic toward her daughter and has allowed her a relaxed and intellectual life. Ultimately, Mrs. Hopewell is not a bad person, but her easy sense of superiority and conventional morality makes her hypocritical (as Hulga sees her) and easily manipulated by the Bible Salesman, who Mrs. Hopewell sees as being one of the “good country people.”

Mrs. Hopewell Quotes in Good Country People

The Good Country People quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Hopewell or refer to Mrs. Hopewell. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Class, Identity, and Superiority Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Farrar, Strauss and Giroux edition of Good Country People published in 1971.
Good Country People Quotes

By the time Joy came in, they had usually finished the weather report and were on one or the other of Mrs. Freeman’s daughters, Glynese or Carramae, Joy called them Glycerin and Caramel.

Related Characters: Hulga Hopewell (Joy), Mrs. Hopewell, Mrs. Freeman, Carramae and Glynese Freeman –
Page Number: 272
Explanation and Analysis:

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Nothing is perfect. This was one of Mrs. Hopewell’s favorite sayings. Another was: that is life! And still another, the most important, was: well, other people have their opinions too.

Related Characters: Mrs. Hopewell
Page Number: 272-273
Explanation and Analysis:

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The reason for her keeping them so long was that they were not trash. They were good country people.

Related Characters: Mrs. Hopewell, Mrs. Freeman
Page Number: 272
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Her remarks were usually so ugly and her face so glum that Mrs. Hopewell would say, ‘If you can’t come pleasantly, I don’t want you at all,” to which the girl, standing square and rigid-shouldered with her neck thrust forward, would reply, ‘If you want me, here I am—LIKE I AM.”

Related Characters: Hulga Hopewell (Joy) (speaker), Mrs. Hopewell (speaker)
Page Number: 274
Explanation and Analysis:

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She thought of her still as a child because it tore her heart to think instead of the poor stout girl in her thirties who had never danced a step or had any normal good times.

Related Characters: Mrs. Hopewell
Page Number: 274
Explanation and Analysis:

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Mrs. Hopewell was certain that she had thought and thought and thought until she had hit upon the ugliest name in any language. Then she had gone and had the beautiful name, Joy, changed without telling her mother until after she had done it. Her legal name was Hulga.

Related Characters: Hulga Hopewell (Joy), Mrs. Hopewell
Related Symbols: The Artificial Leg
Page Number: 274
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Mrs. Hopewell could not say, “My daughter is an atheist and won’t let me keep the Bible in the parlor.” She said, stiffening slightly, “I keep my bible by my bedside.” This was not the truth. It was in the attic somewhere.

Related Characters: Mrs. Hopewell (speaker), Hulga Hopewell (Joy), The Bible Salesman
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“Well lady, I’ll tell you the truth—not many people want to buy one nowadays and besides, I know I’m real simple. I don’t know how to say a thing but to say it. I’m just a country boy.” He glanced up to her unfriendly face. “People like you don’t like to fool with country people like me!”

Related Characters: The Bible Salesman (speaker), Mrs. Hopewell
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“Lord,” she said, “he bored me to death but he was so sincere and genuine I couldn’t be rude to him. He was just good country people, you know,” she said, “—just the salt of the earth.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Hopewell (speaker), Mrs. Freeman, The Bible Salesman
Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“Why, that looks like that nice dull young man that tried to sell me a Bible yesterday,” Mrs. Hopewell said, squinting. “He must have been selling them to the Negroes back there. He was so simple,” she said, “but I guess the world would be better off if we were all that simple.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Hopewell (speaker), Mrs. Freeman, The Bible Salesman
Page Number: 291
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Mrs. Hopewell Character Timeline in Good Country People

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Hopewell appears in Good Country People. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Good Country People
Disease and Disability Theme Icon
The story’s action begins at breakfast. Mrs. Hopewell , who owns the farm and employs Mrs. Freeman, begins the morning routine: she lights... (full context)
Appearances and Realities Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Hulga stays in the bathroom until Mrs. Freeman has arrived, and her small talk with Mrs. Hopewell is almost done. Mrs. Hopewell and Mrs. Freeman talk about Mrs. Freeman’s daughters, Glynese and... (full context)
Class, Identity, and Superiority Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Mrs. Hopewell is proud to introduce Mrs. Freeman, Carramae, and Glynese around town. When she had been... (full context)
Appearances and Realities Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Mrs. Hopewell comments on how helpful Mrs. Freeman has been, and Mrs. Freeman agrees. No matter what... (full context)
Class, Identity, and Superiority Theme Icon
Appearances and Realities Theme Icon
Disease and Disability Theme Icon
Before the Freemans moved in, Mrs. Hopewell had a new family living on her property each year. Now the Freemans have been... (full context)
Appearances and Realities Theme Icon
Authentic Faith and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Disease and Disability Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Mrs. Hopewell accepts her daughter’s negative attitude because Hulga lost her leg when she was ten years... (full context)
Authentic Faith and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Disease and Disability Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Hulga resents that Mrs. Hopewell would often criticize her facial expression, saying that “people who looked on the bright side... (full context)
Class, Identity, and Superiority Theme Icon
Appearances and Realities Theme Icon
Authentic Faith and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Disease and Disability Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Mrs. Hopewell regrets allowing Hulga to return to school to get a PhD. Hulga is thirty-two years... (full context)
Class, Identity, and Superiority Theme Icon
...that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Carramae, who is married and pregnant, has been vomiting. Watching Hulga, Mrs. Hopewell wonders what her own daughter said to the Bible Salesman who had shown up the... (full context)
Class, Identity, and Superiority Theme Icon
Appearances and Realities Theme Icon
Authentic Faith and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...the Hopewell home, seeming earnest and well mannered, and carrying a valise full of Bibles. Mrs. Hopewell invites him inside, and he explains that he’s there to sell Bibles. He flatters Mrs.... (full context)
Class, Identity, and Superiority Theme Icon
Appearances and Realities Theme Icon
Authentic Faith and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Disease and Disability Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
The Bible Salesman responds that he’s “just a country boy” and that “People like [ Mrs. Hopewell ] don’t like to fool with country people like me.” He adds that he is... (full context)
Class, Identity, and Superiority Theme Icon
Appearances and Realities Theme Icon
Disease and Disability Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...old, and to have grown up going to Sunday school. Hulga leaves the table, and Mrs. Hopewell spends two hours listening to the Bible Salesman talk about his life before telling him... (full context)
Class, Identity, and Superiority Theme Icon
Appearances and Realities Theme Icon
...Freeman there as long as possible in order to evade any questions from her mother. Mrs. Hopewell comments on how dull she found her conversation with the Bible Salesman, yet how kind... (full context)
Class, Identity, and Superiority Theme Icon
Appearances and Realities Theme Icon
Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Mrs. Hopewell and Mrs. Freeman, busy working, watch the Bible Salesman walk from the woods toward the... (full context)