Explication of Flannery O’Connor: “Good Country People”
In Flannery O’Connors short story, “Good Country People,” the main theme is about a southern family and their faith, identity and education. Another key theme in the story is the concept of reality vs. illusion. The story employs irony and symbolism to portray the main character’s nihilism, immaturity and rebelliousness as well as the other character’s traits and personalities.
The short story is about two families residing in Georgia, the Hopewell family and the Freeman family. The Hopewell family contains the main character, Hulga. As a child, Hulga’s leg was shot off in a hunting accident. Ever since then, she has had a prosthetic leg. Her life and identity are based around her insecurity of her wooden leg. She also has a very prideful identity of perceiving herself to be smarter than everyone around because she has earned a Phd in Philosophy.
Flannery O’Conner employs the faith theme as well as the concepts of the reality versus illusion as Hulga interacts with a bible salesman by the name of Manley Pointer. They develop a connection with each other because they both have heart problems. She fantasizes about seducing what she thinks to be an innocent, vulnerable Christian boy. Once they are alone in the loft, Manley turns the tables and ends up seducing Hulga. This is exactly what Hulga wanted to do to Manley. Manley convinces her to take off her fake leg and he steals it, leaving her helpless and alone.
Flannery O’Connor uses irony to present the main character as nihilistic. It is ironic that, while she has a belief in nothing, she actually has faith in her wooden leg because that makes her different from everyone else. O’Connor evokes irony in almost all of the names of the characters in the story. The main character’s name is Joy Hopewell. Her outlook on life is completely opposite of being Joyful or Hopeful. Because...
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