Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People"
In "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor, uses symbolism
in the choice of names, almost to the point of being ironic and humorous.
These names center around the personality and demeanor of the characters.
Hulga, once known as Joy, simply changed her name because it was the
ugliest she could think of. Mrs. Freeman's name is ironic because she is
burdened by the land that she works, so is not really free. Mrs. Hopewell?s
name is also ironic, because she trys to provide hope, but is in fact empty in
her talk. Each one of these characters names, Hulga, Mrs. Freeman, and
Mrs. Hopewell, show the symbolism used by Flannery O'Connor.
Hulga, the daughter to Mrs. Hopewell, was actually named Joy at
birth. At the age of ten, Joy lost one of her legs in a hunting accident, and
from that point on became a depressed realist. At the age of twenty one, Joy
moved out of the house, went to college, and legally changed her name to
Hulga. Hulga most likely changes her name to spite her mother, because
Joy is such a beautiful name and Hulga is such an ugly one. ?She [Hulga]
had arrived at it first purely on the basis of its ugly sound and then the full
genius of its fitness had struck her...She saw it as the name of her highest
creative act.? Hulga alo changes her name because of the true way she feels
inside. Hulga is the ugliest name she could think of and it shows her
inability to love or become close to anyone. ?One of her major triumphs
was that her mother had not been able to turn her dust into Joy, but the
greater one was that she had been able to turn it herself into Hulga.? She
does not think of herself as pretty, but in fact she believes that she is ugly
and depressed and actually enjoys feeling this way.
Mrs. Freeman is the tenet farmer for Mrs. Hopewell. Mrs. Freeman is
very nosy and has a fondness for the grotesque and secret infections. She
has an attitude of trying to be someone she is not,...