GOOD COUNTRY PEOPLE 1
by Flannery O’Connor features the storyof Mrs. Hopewell and her 32-year old daughter, Joy (Baym &Levine, 2013). The narrative also mentions Mrs. Freeman and her twoteenage daughters, Carramae and Glynese. Mrs. Hopewell had employedthe Freemans for the past four years. A Bible salesman, ManleyPointer, comes by the house and proceeds to have an extendedinteraction with Joy, who had changed her name to Hulga (Baym &Levine, 2013). has various depictions ofirony that provide a better understanding of the characters and theiractions.
Mrs. Hopewell acknowledges Mrs. Freeman as a noble lady and yet viewsher as a self-righteous and nosy individual. Also, Mrs. Hopewellhails Mrs. Freeman’s daughters as the finest and most adorablegirls (Baym & Levine, 2013). However, Carramae is pregnant andmarried despite being only 15 years old. Although Glynese was onlythree years older, she already had many suitors (Baym & Levine,2013). Mrs. Freeman noticed the disenchanting smell of the onions shewas picking from the ground. At that juncture, she failed to discernthe evil attributes of Manley as he walked past her. Furthermore,Mrs. Hopewell characterizes Manley as a simple, good man.Nonetheless, he uses cunning to isolate Hulga at the hay loft andcause her anguish. Besides, Manley works as a Bible salesman.Nevertheless, he does not profess to Christianity. Although Manleycarries holy texts, his Holy Bible contains condoms, cards, andwhiskey (Baym & Levine, 2013). Manley seems to profit from hisBible sales as he strives to become a missionary. However, he has asevere heart condition that threatens to end his life prematurely.Although Manley was uneducated, he deceived Hulga in the hay loft.
Hulga considers herself knowledgeable owing to her advanced educationand exposure. Nevertheless, she has a limited understanding ofherself. For example, although she has a weak physical heart, hergreatest weakness is her inability to show concern and compassion forothers. Hulga also derides her mother for not examining her innerself. However, she fails to realize her true identity. Moreover,Hulga accepts that humans require guidance to illuminate their pathin life (Baym & Levine, 2013). Nonetheless, she pursues her ownintellectual and spiritual path.
Hulga’s hubris led her to believe that she could perceive thestupidity of young men. However, Manley dupes her by using love as acover for malice. Despite her Ph.D. in philosophy, Hulga could notdiscern the salesman’s evil intentions (Baym & Levine, 2013).Notably, Hulga subscribes to the belief that morality is man-made. Inthis regard, she considers everything as inconsequential.Nevertheless, her belief system is hypocritical since she is repulsedby Manley’s actions. Her sensitivity to right and wrong disprovesher nihilistic beliefs.
During her meeting with Manley, Hulga considered herself in totalcontrol of the situation. However, she removes her artificial leg andhands it over to Manley. At that moment, she cedes control to thesalesman. Manley’s refusal to return the leg sends her into ahysterical, screaming frenzy (Baym & Levine, 2013). Although shebelieves that the uneducated salesman would be easy to seduce, theopposite occurs when she craves his love and affection. In fact,Hulga entertained the thought of eloping with Manley. Consequently,her desire for intimacy weakened her resolve.
In addition, Hulga considers herself as free of illusions and otherwarped forms of thinking. Nevertheless, her personality is shaped byfalse assumptions. For example, although she considered everything asinsignificant, Hulga had a deep-seated need for love. Moreover, sheunderestimates Manley as a poor person devoid of understanding (Baym& Levine, 2013). However, the salesman proved that he could matchup to her level of understanding. Although Hulga considered herselfas an honest individual, she lied about her age (Baym & Levine,2013). Her misplaced belief in authenticity is disproved by herdecision to adopt Hulga as her new name rather than sticking to herbirth name of Joy.
Besides, Hulga was repulsed by Christianity as described in theBible. However, she expresses her utter disgust when Manley attemptedto take advantage of her. In fact, she scolded him for failing tofulfill Christian standards (Baym & Levine, 2013). Herdispleasure towards Manley’s actions shows that she cherished thevirtues stipulated in the Bible. Although Hulga was highly educated,she was still dependent on her mother. Therefore, her choice toacquire advanced education had failed to liberate her as she wasconfined to her home. Although Hulga was expected to benefit from hersuperior education, her heart condition had bizarrely shortened herlife prospects (Baym & Levine, 2013). Consequently, she hadenjoyed little happiness compared to the less educated women. Forexample, Camarrae was only 15 but had already experienced love andaffection in marriage.
Hulga had lost her leg during a hunting accident when she was barelyten years old. Therefore, she considered the artificial leg as themost important part of her identity (Baym & Levine, 2013).However, she agreed to take off her leg at the salesman’sinsistence. Although she appears content and pleased with herappearance, her initial reluctance to show the artificial leg toManley displays her insecurity. Hulga’s self-awareness made herashamed of what she viewed as the most significant aspect of herbody. Therefore, O’Connor uses irony to provide insight into thetemperament and actions of the characters in .
Baym, N. & Levine, R. S. (2013). The Norton anthology of Americanliterature (Shorter 8th ed.). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co.