In Flannery O'Connor's short story "Good Country People" Flannery shows and teaches us, you cannot judge a book by its cover, not even a bible. Though Hulga seems as if she has a heart as cold as ice, you learn how vulnerable she is. You also encounter a character named Manley Pointer. Who puts on a facade of being a good country boy, and a Christian who sells bibles. Symbolism plays a major role in the way that these characters are seen through out the story and how they perceive themselves.
Multiple objects' presented in the story initially may be props. The reader soon discovers these props to be extremely important, and necessary to how the story unfolds. These props symbolically represent the personalties of the characters who possess and use them. One such object is the wooden leg of Hulga. When the wooden leg is introduced into the story, you feel compelled to feel sympathy and pity for Hulga. Due to the circumstances requiring the wooden leg. The leg briefly mentioned, with little description that the leg was "literally blown off, "(Flannery O'Connor pg. 139) in a hunting accident. This sounds horrible, and is tragic but what is worse, is the way the leg is used.
Hulga uses the leg as a tool for manipulating situations to suit her. One example is shown she stomps through the house, deliberately making a loud "ugly-sounding"(pg. 137) noise. Why does she do this? To inform everyone that she is up, and miserable with everyone in the world? Hulga's physical disability, and use of the wooden leg, symbolizes her. More specifically, the leg is strong but is what makes her weak. When Manley Pointer steals her leg, it is revealed how vulnerable and weak she is. It is then, when she is left helpless with no one to insult that Hulga faces her weakness. David Havird wrote an article, "The Saving Rape: Flannery O'Connor and patriarchal religion," that was in The Mississippi Quarterly in 1993. He stated "Certainly none of O'Connor's women- neither Mrs May...
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