Flannery O'Connor's Stories

Good Country People

Explain the joke Manley tells Joy during that first meeting? What are Joy’s reaction and response to the joke? How are Joy’s reaction and response insightful into her personality? How is the joke foreshadowing?

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From the text:

Then on what seemed an insuck of breath, he whispered, “You ever ate a chicken that was two days old?”

The girl looked at him stonily. He might have just put this question up for consideration at the meeting of a philosophical association. “Yes,” she presently replied as if she had considered it from all angles.

“It must have been mighty small!” he said triumphantly and shook all over with little nervous giggles, getting very red in the face, and subsiding finally into his gaze of complete admiration, while the girl’s expression remained exactly the same.

The joke is easily explained.... a two day old chick would be minute in size..... not even big enough to cook. Unfortunately, Joy doesn't understand the joke and believes he's talking about eating a chicken two days after it has been cooked. She has no reaction and doesn't have greatest sense of humor. She is very serious. The joke foreshadows Manley's leaving Joy stuck in the hayloft.... she doesn't find that humorous either.


Good Country People