Good Country People; An Insightful Glimpse

2005 words - 8 pages

Throughout many of the literary works of Flannery O'Connor, one can catch the reflections of her own life spread throughout the stories and characters she creates. The themes she deals with are often ones that she struggled with in her own day to day life. O'Connor's piece, Good Country People, is no exception. One of the main characters, Joy, or Hulga as she preferred to be called, is a logical positivist only taking into account things that are right in front of her face. She feels that faith in things that cannot be explain by fact, such as God or love, are merely illusions, a weakness only simple minded people fall prey to. Her perception leaves nothing to look forward to in life, nothing to anticipate, nothing but nothing.The notion that this world is in itself the be-all and the end-all was considered an absurdity to Flannery O'Connor and she was not slow to correct anyone who might challenge her ideologies. This message is found recurring again and again in "Good Country People". By examining the different literary devices and literary perspectives used, such as her reverse feministic approach and imbedded contradictions through mirroring characters, one can begin an in depth study of what Flannery O'Connor was trying to get across to her audience.In an attempt to overcome the stereotypes put upon female authors of her time, Flannery O'Connor made an effort to fashion herself a serious writer worthy of critical attention traditionally denied "lady writers" of the South. Traditionally, the only writers who were worthy of respect and praise at the time that O'Connor wrote some of her best works were men. In an effort to curb some of these prejudices set against her for being a woman, O'Connor wrote with more masculine undertones. By eliminating strong independent female characters and voices throughout her works, she created a more acceptable environment for her male audience, thus gaining the respect she yearned for. (Prown, 3).In Good Country People, this reverse feminine perspective is prominent. Hulga is the main character in this piece. This character was representative of everything that a nice Southern girl should not be and for this she suffered. At the age of 32, Helga has earned a Ph.D., but has yet to find a husband. O'Connor repeats many times throughout the story how well balanced Mrs. Freeman's two daughters are, since they are both very feminine and stick to the normal roles that a woman should, in complete contrast to how Hulga has turned out. Hulga is very masculine, and seems to want little to do with men. "She looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity." (Kirszner, 507 ). Glynese and Carramae are used as a foil to the character of Hulga, proper and sweet girls who believe in good Christian values. They are uneducated yet are said to have "good common sense", always presenting themselves as the traditional silent southern females. Hulga is cynical and nasty with a strong atheist belief. Manley Pointer...

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