If you're seeking perfection, this is NOT where to find it!
Let me start off by saying that I was completely torn between a number of quotes and images. This was a GREAT story! It just may be the best Flannery O'Connor piece we have read yet!
"Mrs. Hopewell had no bad qualities of her own but she was able to use other people's in such a constructive way that she never left the lack...Nothing is perfect" (Good Country People 169).
There are so many things to point out about this passage. The first thing is that nobody in Flannery O'Connor's stories is perfect. The line "nothing is perfect" seems to reflect her own beliefs. O'Connor turns even the most optimistic of times into dismal scenes. Remember the scene with the family all going on a vacation in A Good Man Is Hard to Find? Yes, the family is dysfunctional, but what family isn't? They are off on a nice little trip and BAM!, just like that, the scene shifts from the comedic yet still peaceful scene to a dramatic suspense. Nothing is perfect and many things aren't as they seem in life and especially while reading O'Connor. Even though "Mrs. Hopewell had no bad qualities of her own" she is far from perfect and in fact, she does have a few bad qualities. She is not accepting of her own daughter. She seems so tactful to others yet to her own daughter she does not have the same kind of understanding. She said to Joy/Hulga, "If you can't come pleasantly, I don't want you at all" (171). This is a harsh statement coming from such a seemingly nice lady. The truth is, Mrs. Hopewell has not accepted her daughter's imperfections and seems to pick on her whenever she gets the chance. The statement “I don’t want you at all” seems to reflect her dislike of her own daughter. It is her way of snidely telling Hulga she does not really want her or like her. Mrs. Hopewell also has a problem with her daughter's Ph.D. Mrs. Hopewell is upset because she can't brag and say, "'My daughter is a nurse," or 'My daughter is a school teacher,' or even 'My daughter is a chemical engineer.'" She goes on to say that you can't call Hulga a philosopher because that ended with the Greeks. Why doesn't she just day her daughter has a Ph.D. in philosophy? That's still impressive. She doesn't need a specific title. This shows her ignorance and pride. So, in conclusion, with O'Connor in general and this quote specifically nothing is as it seems and "Nothing is perfect."