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Challenge And Conflict Of Faith And Intelligence

773 words - 4 pages

Flannery O’Conner, a winner of the National Book Award for fiction, was a prominent Southern Gothic short story author whose works deal with the protagonist, usually having a deformity or disability, is met with a challenge of faith and a conflict of intelligence. Although both challenge and conflict are found in all of her works, however it is very apparent with in Good Country People and The Lame Shall Enter First. O’Conner uses character relations and minor characters that are broken prophets to generate and create each story.
Hulga, or Joy as her mother calls her, is the protagonist of Good Country People. Being an atheist, having a doctorate in philosophy, and a wooden leg, is the outcast of her family, the dull diamond in both Mrs. Hopewell’s life and mind for she believes that Hulga shall never be up to her expectations. When a Bible salesman by the name of Manley Pointer visits the house, he woos the heart of Hulga to the point that she agrees to meet him the following day to take a walk down in the luscious fields of rural Georgia. Believing that Pointer is a good, Christian man, she strolls with him to a secluded barn to which they start getting comfortable. After many minutes of persuasion, Hulga removes her wooden leg, along with her glasses, to which she cannot she, nor can she walk. Oddly carrying his briefcase, he retrieves a hollowed out Bible containing condoms, cards, and a bottle of whiskey. Then, abruptly, he snatches her aiding wooden leg, and scurries away telling her that he name is not Manley Pointer, he collects prostheses, and that he is an atheist, similar to Hulga/Joy. This moment in the short story is her revelation, and it represents to her not only that people have more faults than those that are apparent, but how intelligence, in some cases, does not overrule common sense. O’Conner also criticizes Hulga for being an atheist by developing Mrs. Hopewell as a woman of God with no abnormalities whose daughter shall never be worth anything unless she marries. O’Conner writes, “Mrs. Hopewell liked to tell people that Glynese and Carramae were two of the finest girls she knew and that Mrs. Freeman was a lady and that she was never ashamed to take her anywhere or introduce her...

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