Inspirational Passage of the Day
In the latter part of the story, Joy is introduced to a Bible salesman who, unlike the other characters, seems to possess the ability to get her to open up. He slowly breaks down the barriers she erected when it came to the subject of her wooden leg. Her defenses are let down, because she assumes he is an uneducated country boy and can be seduced by her. The whole interplay between them is similar to the struggle between good and evil and giving in to temptation.
The appearance of the Bible salesman provides the first real test of the self-called Hulga. As he presents himself, he seems a living embodiment of Mrs. Hopewell’s most cherished cliches. With his Bible-quoting and his missionary aspirations, he convinces the girl that at last she is face to face with real innocence (Asals 104). When he and Joy take their walk, he does all he can to « ease her path » by removing the branches in her way and helping her over the roots that may trip her. He even got her to move swiftly toward the old barn (like the goddess coming to Vulcan when he called).
Along the way, he had made inquiries that appear to Joy to be both prying and strange. He had asked if she was « saved » and, another time, where her leg joined on. Her response as to her disbelief in God seemed to astonish and, at the same time, please him. It never appeared to her that something might be amiss. Even when he kissed her (her first ever) « she was pleased to discover that it was an unexceptional experience and all a matter of the mind’s control » (DiYanni 189).
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