Dr. Erin Walsh
15 April 2013
“Good Country People”: The Twin Dragons of Image and Language “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor tells the story of a thirty-two year old handicapped woman originally named Joy but later Hulga with a PhD in philosophy. Towards the end of the story, the supposedly intelligent and cunning Hulga is seduced by a supposedly simple, naïve, and innocent-looking Bible salesman by the name of Manley Pointer. As in Revelations, it is possible to see the twin dragons of image and language working together to persuade in this story. Specifically, the twin dragons as characterized using dialogue spoken by Hulga and Manley create a sense of individualism, maturity, and control of personal fate ; however, only Manley possesses these qualities, while Hulga is under the illusion that she does. Also, when used by the author, the twin dragons’ message to the reader is one of human collectiveness, vulnerability, and simplicity.
As an example, both dragons are utilized by Hulga when she uses her philosophical knowledge to persuade the Bible salesman of her superior understanding of the world. In the barn, Manley Pointer tries to drive the conversation to his advantage; however, she is able to withstand his attempt: “’We are all damned’, she said, ‘but some of us have taken off our blindfolds and see that there’s nothing to see” (674). The legless girl chooses to use the word “damned” in an attempt to better connect to Manley Pointer’s religious language. In addition, Dorothy Tuck McFarland points out in her essay “On ‘Good Country People’” that the blindfold confession does not empower her, but actually shows “Hulga’s surrender to love”(1054) which “makes her vulnerable to a revelation of her own blindness” (1054). I agree with McFarland’s statement because the more Hulga talks about herself, the more she reveals information that can be used against her. In addition, the girl’s use of the blindfold...