Initial Thoughts and Expectations Essay

Words: 1871
Pages: 7
Subject: Literature

Assignment Question

Purpose The purpose of this activity is to encourage students to reflect on their initial thoughts, assumptions, and expectations about the story “Good Country People” based on its title and any prior knowledge they may have about Flannery O’Connor. Introduction Hello, All! In this discussion activity, we will delve into Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People” before reading it carefully. Share your initial thoughts on the story’s title and your predictions based on prior knowledge, then engage with your peers’ reflections by providing insightful responses that build upon their ideas. Let’s explore the story’s themes and characters together, fostering a vibrant and thought-provoking discussion. Note: Students must post before seeing peer responses. Review the learning activities assigned in this module, specifically lessons that teach biographical links to author Flannery O’Connor Review the learning activity page titled Previewing a Text Analyze the title of the story, “Good Country People.” Reflect on what you think the title means and what kind of story it suggests. Think about possible themes, character types, or conflicts that might arise based on your initial interpretation of the title. Do this before reading the story, opening the story, or googling the story. Just think about the title. Share any prior knowledge you have about Flannery O’Connor. This could include any familiarity with her writing style, common themes in her works, or general impressions they have about her as an author. You can use the biographies linked in this week’s learning activities (be sure to cite). If you are not familiar with O’Connor, speculate on what you expect from a story written by an author with such a title. Hint: This author is introduced in this week’s module. Review the content page titled Who is Flannery O’Connor? Open Good Country People – Flannery O’Connor.pdf Download Good Country People – Flannery O’Connor.pdfand “preview the text.” Apply what you learned in this week’s module. Based on your analysis of the title, your preview of the text, and any prior knowledge, formulate hypotheses and predictions about the story. You should make educated guesses about the characters, plot, setting, and possible themes that might be explored in “Good Country People.” Provide reasoning for your predictions. Reflect on your initial assumptions and predictions. Consider how your expectations might influence your reading experience and what you hope to gain from reading the story. Share your reflections here. If you used an outside source to write this post, please include MLA9 in-text and Work Cited citation. Reply to 2 peers. Follow instructions on how to reply below. Instructions for Peer Replies Start your reply by acknowledging and appreciating your peer’s reflections. Highlight specific points or insights that you found interesting or thought-provoking. This sets a positive tone and shows that you value their contribution. Extend the discussion by building on your peer’s thoughts. Add new perspectives, examples, or counterpoints to enhance the conversation. Share your own insights or experiences related to their predictions, hypotheses, or expectations. Pose open-ended questions to encourage further exploration of the topic. Ask your peer to clarify or elaborate on certain points, or invite them to consider alternative interpretations or possibilities. This helps deepen the conversation and prompts critical thinking. Share personal experiences or connections you have with the story’s themes, characters, or conflicts. This adds a unique and relatable perspective to the discussion. However, ensure that your personal anecdotes are relevant and contribute to the overall understanding of the text. End on a positive and encouraging note, fostering a sense of collaboration and intellectual growth.



Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Good Country People” offers a fascinating opportunity to engage with literature before diving into its pages. By contemplating the title and drawing from any prior knowledge of the author, we can form initial thoughts and predictions that will enrich our reading experience. In this discussion, we will explore our expectations, reflect on how they may influence our reading, and engage in meaningful dialogue with our peers.

Initial Thoughts on the Title

The title “Good Country People” immediately strikes me with a sense of irony and complexity. At first glance, it seems to suggest a narrative centered around virtuous, rural individuals. However, the use of the word “good” in the title raises questions about the authenticity of these characters’ goodness. It hints at the possibility of hidden layers, where appearances may deceive. I anticipate a story that challenges stereotypes and delves into the intricacies of human nature.

Predictions Based on the Title

Considering my initial interpretation of the title, I anticipate several themes and conflicts. Firstly, I expect a focus on the contrast between outward appearances and inner realities. The characters may project themselves as “good” country people while harboring hidden flaws, secrets, or darkness. This tension could lead to moral dilemmas and character development throughout the narrative.

Secondly, I foresee the theme of social and cultural expectations playing a significant role. The idea of what it means to be a “good” person, particularly in a rural setting, may be a central point of exploration. I expect the story to challenge these societal norms and question their validity.

Thirdly, the title suggests the presence of characters who are “country people.” I anticipate a rich portrayal of rural life, possibly with a focus on the rural-urban divide, showcasing the clash of different worldviews.

Prior Knowledge of Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor is known for her Southern Gothic style, characterized by dark humor, grotesque characters, and themes of moral and spiritual redemption. Her works often challenge conventional religious and societal norms, leading to unexpected and thought-provoking outcomes. Based on my prior knowledge, I anticipate “Good Country People” to reflect these elements of her writing style, with complex characters and a deep exploration of human nature.

Expectations and Reading Experience

As I approach this story, my expectations are filled with curiosity. I hope to gain insight into the complexity of human morality, the blurred lines between good and evil, and the power of O’Connor’s storytelling. I’m excited to see how her distinctive style and exploration of rural life will manifest in this narrative.


In conclusion, by reflecting on the title and our prior knowledge, we lay the foundation for a more informed and engaging reading experience. I look forward to discussing and unraveling the themes, characters, and conflicts of “Good Country People” with my fellow students, as we embark on this literary journey together.

Peer Response 1:

I really enjoyed reading your initial thoughts and predictions for “Good Country People.” Your insight into the potential irony and complexity behind the title is spot on. It’s true that titles can often be deceiving, and it’s exciting to consider how O’Connor might use this irony to challenge our expectations.

You mentioned the contrast between outward appearances and inner realities, which I also believe will be a central theme. O’Connor has a knack for delving into the complexities of human nature, and I anticipate that this story will be no exception. It will be interesting to see how the characters’ true natures are revealed throughout the narrative.

Your mention of the rural-urban divide is intriguing. I hadn’t considered this, but it’s a valid point. O’Connor often explores the clash of different worldviews, and the rural setting could indeed play a significant role in shaping the characters and conflicts.

Overall, your insights have deepened my curiosity about the story, and I’m looking forward to discussing it further as we read along.

Peer Response 2:

Your analysis of the title “Good Country People” is quite thought-provoking. I appreciate your focus on the irony inherent in the title and how it suggests a deeper complexity within the narrative. It’s intriguing to think about how appearances may indeed deceive in this story.

I also agree with your predictions regarding the contrast between outward appearances and inner realities. Flannery O’Connor is known for her exploration of the human condition, and I expect this story to be no different. The moral dilemmas and character development you anticipate should make for a compelling read.

Your mention of societal expectations is spot on. O’Connor often challenges these norms, and it will be interesting to see how the characters grapple with and subvert these expectations throughout the narrative.

Your reflections on Flannery O’Connor’s style and themes align with my own understanding of her work. I, too, am excited to see how she applies her unique storytelling to “Good Country People.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What is the significance of the title “Good Country People”? A1: The title “Good Country People” sets the stage for the story’s exploration of appearances versus reality. While it initially suggests virtuous rural individuals, the word “good” introduces an element of irony, hinting at hidden complexities within the characters. This contrast is central to the story’s themes.

Q2: What can we expect from Flannery O’Connor’s writing style in this story? A2: Flannery O’Connor is known for her Southern Gothic style, which often includes dark humor, grotesque characters, and a deep exploration of moral and spiritual themes. In “Good Country People,” readers can anticipate her distinctive style, with a focus on challenging societal norms and human nature.

Q3: Are there any specific themes we should watch for in the story? A3: Yes, several themes are likely to be explored in the story. Expect themes related to the contrast between outward appearances and inner realities, the rural-urban divide, and the questioning of social and cultural expectations. O’Connor’s works often delve into moral dilemmas and redemption as well.

Q4: What role does the rural setting play in the story? A4: The rural setting is expected to be a significant backdrop in “Good Country People.” It may serve to highlight the clash of different worldviews and challenge urban perspectives. Rural life and its complexities could contribute to the overall theme and atmosphere of the narrative.

Q5: How might our initial expectations and interpretations of the title influence our reading experience? A5: Our initial expectations and interpretations can significantly impact our reading experience. They can shape our perceptions of the characters, plot, and themes. By being aware of these expectations, readers can engage in a more critical and reflective analysis of the story as it unfolds.

Q6: What can we hope to gain from reading “Good Country People”? A6: Reading “Good Country People” offers an opportunity to delve into complex characters and moral dilemmas. It challenges us to question societal norms and consider the authenticity of human goodness. Ultimately, readers can gain insights into human nature and the power of storytelling.

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