Character Analysis Good Country People

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Character Analysis Good Country People

By | November 2010
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The short story, “Good Country People”, written by Flannery O’Connor, is a story that captivates one by usage of symbolism and theme. The story centers on the meaning of being a good person, in the sense of leading a Christian, pious life, worthy of salvation. O’Connor contrasts mindless chatter about “good country people” with questions about the true meaning of religious faith. There is also a class hierarchy formed that includes stereotypes about “good country people” and literal and symbolic meanings of events, objects, and characters. Through exclusive use of the third person narrator, O’Connor’s narrative style poises a tension between the realistic (characters in typical settings performing natural acts) and symbolic (where names, signs and other common objects represent larger issues). She also employs the technique of the epiphany, where a single moment of illumination “awakens” the character and reveals the deeper meanings of the text. O’Connor describes the story’s characters as distorted versions of humanity, and virtually none are sympathetic in the traditional nature of the hero or heroine with whom a reader might identify.

Hulga is the dual dimension main character that goes through a complete change throughout the story. She changes her name to Hulga, an “ugly” name, to reflect her feelings about her injured body and self, as the name is the opposite of her real name “Joy”, as is her personality. The significance of Joy remaining conscious even though terribly injured as a child when “her leg was blasted off” indicates that Joy seems to have rejected her own body by choosing a life of intelligence and of the mind. As with her missing limb, Hulga’s “weak heart” operates as a symbolic as well as literal affliction. Hulga closes her heart just as she rejects her body. Hulga’s mother, Mrs. Hopewell, convinced that Hulga would have “been better without a useless PhD. degree in philosophy”, has no comprehension of the one true meaning...

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