Good Country People

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Only when you are strong enough to look within yourself, analyzing your faults and weaknesses, will you be able to withstand exploitation. Time and time again, egotistical people are hurt or humiliated because their belief in their own greatness leaves them blind. Such is the case with Hulga, the main character of Flannery O'Connor's Good Country People. As suggested in the title, O'Connor asks the reader to consider exactly what are the qualities that "a good person" is composed of. Hulga believes she is superior in this category because she is able to see people for what they truly are and it is her belief that she is the only one around that has the ability to do so. However, Hulga is brought to a rude awakening by yet another impostor of "a good country person." Being aware of the world's vast potential for unlimited disappointment, Hulga taught herself how to reject the physical world, a process through which she was able to devalue aesthetic beauty.

O'Connor describes this by stating "as a child she had sometimes been subject to feelings of shame but education had removed the last traces of that as a good surgeon scrapes for cancer" (1103). The analogy of emotions as cancer further expresses Hulga's belief that things can only be taken for what they are and that matters of the heart clog the brain. The rejection, as talked about above, is demonstrated through Hulga's disregard for nature; "sometimes she went for walks but she didn't like dogs or cats or birds or flowers or nature or nice young men. She looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity" (1095). It is obvious that Hulga feels this way because things of nature are beautiful and young men are attracted to...