Ignorance Is Bliss In Flannery O'connor's Good Country People

1058 words - 4 pages

Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People" has a steady demonstration of irony, much of it based on the title of the story. Ignorance is also a major issue in the work, both Ms. Freeman and Ms. Hopewell exhibit this clearly. However ironically, Hulga exhibits this with her knowledge. She takes pride in her own intellect and in her knowledge of existentialism. Hulga's existentialist ideas come crashing down because of her naïveté and lack of dependence on others. Hulga believes she is self sustained however she realizes when the bible salesman steals her leg that this isn't so. Hulga's lack of dependence on others may be the cause of her emotional downfall when she realizes that she can't depend solely on herself. Her pride and wisdom as well as her emotions could also be the reason for her gullibility and her being easily manipulated by the young bible salesman.

Hulga always tries to be perceived as being a stern person with an established set of ideas. "I don't have illusions," she says at one point. "I'm one of those people who see through to nothing."(112). Ironically, however, we see that this is false. Manly Pointer, the young bible salesman, easily manipulates Hulga and tricks her into believing that he actually liked her. Manly makes Hulga vulnerable when he asks for her wooden leg. In reality the reader can sense that in asking for the leg, Manly is asking her to submit herself to him body and soul. Hulga does so and thus becomes "entirely dependant on him" (113). Before giving up her leg, however, Hulga would have seen her self as far more superior than Manly on the basis of her being more knowledgeable than him, "She imagined that she took his remorse in hand and changed it into a deeper understanding of life. She took all his shame away and turned it into something useful" (109). Hulga perceives herself as the ultimate being by stating that she does this. This biblical allusion to the way Jesus washed away the shame and sin of his followers demonstrates the way Hulga views Manley's innocence in contrast to her all-knowing capabilities. The irony is that Hulga's assumptions about Manley again demonstrate her own ingenuousness. When Hulga is left in the barn without her leg, the reader knows that a different Hulga will emerge. O'Connor indirectly specifies that the theft of her leg and the betrayal by Manly leaves her totally dependant on the grace of God. Ironically this makes Manly the lashing force of grace upon which Hulga is now dependant.

O'Connor shocks Hulga out of her state of satisfaction by bringing her into an awareness of her meagerness in the eyes of God. This happens in a way that is emotionally cruel to her. Since the beginning of the story and throughout, Hulga shuts herself off from a spiritual union with God. She thinks she possesses everything she needs to be a functionally whole person; however the reader can see that this isn't so through her incident with Manly and how heavily she becomes dependant on...

Find Another Essay On Ignorance Is Bliss in Flannery O'Connor's Good Country People

Feminism and New Historicism in Flannery O’Connor’s Good Country People

2168 words - 9 pages Feminism and Historicism play a major part in Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “Good Country People”, first published in 1955. The story focuses on the importance of identity and the parallels between truth and deception. In “Good Country People”, the Hopewell family, maintain a small farm in rural Georgia with the help of tenants the Freemans. The pious Mrs. Hopewell’s mottos ‘nothing is perfect’ and ‘it takes all kinds to make the world’ are

Symbolization in the Good Country People by Flannery O'Connor

1616 words - 7 pages “Good Country People” is a short story written by Flannery O’Connor in the mid 50’s. The story takes place on farm in Georgia that Mrs. Hopewell owns. Flannery O’Connor uses the characters names and personalities to symbolize that they aren’t really who they think they are. The protagonist Joy-Hulga has a heart condition which and a peg leg. Her heat condition and disability reflects that she is a broken and weak person on the inside. Mrs

The Power Of Good And Evil in Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find

1845 words - 7 pages The Power Of Good And Evil in Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find        Good and bad. Right and wrong. Guilty and Innocent. These are just a few of the many themes that surround everyone's life. Everyone has their own opinion about certain issues, and they depend on their values, judgment, and beliefs to see them through their difficulties. Flannery O'Connor was quoted as saying "I see from the standpoint of Christian

Flannery O'Conner and the use of grotesque character in "Good country people" and "a good man is hard to find"

1250 words - 5 pages "The representation of the grotesque is a characteristic of much 20th century writing" (Holman 61). Almost all of O'Connor's short stories usually end in horrendous, freak fatalities or, at the very least, a character's emotional devastation. People have categorized O'Connor's work as "Southern Gothic" (Walters 30). In Many of her short stories, A Good Man Is Hard To Find for example, Flannery O'Connor creates grotesque characters to illustrate

Good Country People by Flannery O'connor

1658 words - 7 pages Even though, a person likes to think they are in control, life will show them they are in less control than thought they were. In Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People,” the character Hulga is a person that wants to maintain control in every aspect of her life good or bad. To Hulga it seems she is in constant control of her surroundings and her life. However, she does not have control that she thinks has. Hulga’s birth name was Joy. When Joy

Identifying Evil in Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find

2500 words - 10 pages Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, is tale about a grandmother who unknowingly steers her family to a fatal meeting with a fugitive. The chance encounter with the murderous fugitive ultimately costs the grandmother and her family their lives. Sticking with the Southern Gothic genre, O’Connor takes odd characters and mixes in dark encounters to produce a story packed full of hidden meanings and foreshadowing (Language

Foreshadowing in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard To Find"

613 words - 2 pages Throughout Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard To Find", hints are given to the readers that foretell what is in store, foreshadowing the grotesque ending that is to come. These insinuations of the forthcoming become coincidences later in the story when they actually do develop into reality, creating mocking irony. The names within the story can be considered foreshadowing themselves. For example, the name of the town where the family is

Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find,"

666 words - 3 pages A Good Man Is Hard to FindFlannery O'Connor's short story, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," is about people losing faith. This story is about a family taking a trip from Georgia to Florida. While driving the family gets into an accident and runs into a serial killer named The Misfit. In this short story, The Misfit is the one that lacks the most faith. Its clear that through The Misfit talking to the grandmother the reader realizes that the Misfit

Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find

1393 words - 6 pages realize that it is faith and acceptance, not conformity, which makes their institution strong. Flannery O’ Connor was a woman who saw the hate and intolerance of some religious practices and sought to change it. Her short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is a call-to-action for society because it conveys the importance of acceptance through its characters and resolution. In addition to demonstrating the value of tolerance, the Grandmother is

Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find

1542 words - 7 pages When one first begins to read A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor, one is assailed by the humorous petty grievances of a mother living under her son’s roof disrespected by her grandchildren and lonely in a house filled with people, clutching at memories of days long passed similar to the Tennessee Williams play, The Glass Menagerie. As the story unfolds one begins to see the indifference of Bailey toward his family in general and

Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard To Find"

904 words - 4 pages Important Aspects In "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" In "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," Flannery O'Connor hints that the story will involve coincidence. She tells us in the opening paragraph that the grandmother has second thoughts about traveling to Florida for a vacation because she has a bad feeling about a loose Misfit she had read about in a news article. This foreshadows the trouble to come, and coincidence advances the plot

Similar Essays

Flannery O'connor's Good Country People Essay

654 words - 3 pages 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

Flannery O'connor's Good Country People Essay

1363 words - 6 pages Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Good Country People” is about four main characters and their misconceptions about one another and life in general. Country people are usually considered to be humble and hard-working individuals and Flannery O’Connor uses the concept as an ironic title in her story “Good Country People”. The story opens with a description of Mrs. Freeman who is the wife of Mrs. Hopewell’s most recent tenant farmer

Flannery O’connor’s Good Country People Essay

1394 words - 6 pages country people.” The phrase ‘good country people’ is the title and frequently used throughout the story. Mrs. Hopewell uses this term to describe her neighborhoods because she sees them as simple-minded. Despite living on the farm, she views herself as better than then the country people. Hopewell claims to appreciate them and stated that she is good at accessing a good country person. In her opinion, they are important to society because they

Relationships In Good Country People, By Flannery O'connor

2561 words - 10 pages   Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People" is a story told through the examination of the relationships between the four main characters. All of the characters have distinct feelings about the others, from misunderstanding to contempt. Both Joy-Hulga, the protagonist, and Manley Pointer, the antagonist, are multi-faceted characters. While all of the characters have different levels of complexity, Joy-Hulga and Manley Pointer are the