In “Good Country People” Flannery O’Conner uses symbolisim to exploit the characters and their flaws. The various facades the characters create for themselves. Flaws are taken advantage of by society, whether these flaws are physical or ideological.
People must be comfortable with every aspect of themselves, because certain people, Manley Pointer, can easily exploit their weaknesses. From the beginning the Bible salesman with an ailing heart uses the svelte and persuasive words to manipulate himself inside when he tells Mrs. Hopewell, “Lady, I’ve come to speak of serious things.” He continues, using her own thoughts and feelings to manipulate her, telling her, “I know you believe in Christian service” and “People like you don’t like to fool with country people like me”(Flannery). He attacks her weakness right at the heart of it. Manley Pointer puts Joy/Hulga into a position where she feels in control. She believes that she is manipulating Manley, but it is he who is doing the manipulating. Before Joy/Hulga even knows it, her glasses are off and Manley has removed her leg. The "eyeglasses" of her philosophical degree cover up Joy-Hulga's poor vision (Oliver). Manley Pointer exploits joy-Hulga’s weakness to the fullest extent, because she never sees it coming.
Greatest flaws can often be found in those characters with physical impairments (Oliver). Joy/Hulga had grown cynical and cold as she grew up with only one leg and heart ailment. She creates an image that she is smarter and better than the rest of the characters in the story. Her education and self-absorption seemed to instill this attitude. Those who are physically crippled are often emotionally or spiritually crippled(Oliver). We can relate these impairments to Joy’s impairments. She emotionally died at age 10 when she lost her leg. Now her weakness is the feeling of power she believed she gained from her studies. She refers to herself as a person who “sees through nothing” (Flannery). Little does...
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