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The Importance of Names to The Characters in Good Country People, a Short Story by Flannery O'connor

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O’Connor uses names that show the person’s character. For example, Hulga used to be named Joy, but now she no longer uses that name, and goes by an uglier name, Hulga. This shows how her life has lost some meaning, and she just goes through the motions of life, without enjoying it. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hopewell is trying to keep Mrs. Freeman as a tenant, and is trying control her by keeping her involved in everything. However, Mrs. Freeman is actually using Mrs. Hopewell for her own gain. This is shown using the parallels between Mrs. Freeman and Manley Pointer. Both have a steely penetrating look, both seem dull and common, and both are thought of by Mrs. Freeman as ‘good country people’. However, it becomes clear that Manley Pointer is not ‘good country people’ because he reveals himself to be an atheist, and brings out some objects which are very inappropriate. Perhaps Mrs. Freeman is the same, and is only putting on a façade for Mrs. Hopewell to using her.

Mrs. Hopewell often wishes her daughter could just act like a lady and stop doing idiotic things, like being an atheist, or acting rude to people. However, Mrs. Hopewell just doesn’t really understand her daughter, and doesn’t get why Hulga is being so rebellious, when she just really wants her mother’s attention. “The girl, standing square and rigid-shouldered with her neck thrust slightly forward, would reply, “If you want me, here I am – LIKE I AM” (Pg. 2). Hulga desperately wants her mother to walk with her, but refuses to change herself just for her mother. Instead, Mrs. Hopewell decides to walk by herself, leaving Hulga to herself, which adds to her loneliness, and her feeling that her mother doesn’t care for her. Mrs. Hopewell thinks that Hulga is acting that way because of her leg, but it is more than that. Hulga wants her mother to accept her, but because she does not fit into her mother’s view of a good lady, then she is rebuffed and criticized by Mrs. Hopewell.

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The Importance of Names to the Characters in Good Country People, a Short Story by Flannery O’Connor. (2018, Jun 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from
“The Importance of Names to the Characters in Good Country People, a Short Story by Flannery O’Connor.” GradesFixer, 29 Jun. 2018,
The Importance of Names to the Characters in Good Country People, a Short Story by Flannery O’Connor. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 May 2022].
The Importance of Names to the Characters in Good Country People, a Short Story by Flannery O’Connor [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Jun 29 [cited 2022 May 23]. Available from:
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