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The Modern Day Philosophy in The Good Country People by Flannery O’connor

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In the short story, “Good Country People” written by the American author Flannery O’Connor, provides a perspective into people’s attitude toward the concept of belief and religion. The author is a woman of the Catholic faith and uses this fictional work to write about the people’s modern day beliefs toward philosophy with morals and beliefs bringing the work to life through the two main characters Hulga Hopewell and Manley Pointer. She expresses her feelings that if you do not have that faith in a higher power and put trust into modern day philosophies you are going to face repercussions.

As the story goes on the main character, Joy “Hulga” Hopewell, demonstrates a great amount of change and character development as shown through her changing her name. One of the reasons she changed her name to Hulga was due to the fact that when people thought of Joy Hopewell they made the association of the broken and sick girl. Hulga in reality was made out to be arrogant, cocky, and felt as if she was was smarter than everybody which continually grew as she aged. The name Hulga really identified her to her philosophy and moral belief; O’Connor possibly chose this name because she felt as if it was fitting to the ugliness of people who do not have faith in God and put their faith elsewhere. She writes “Her name was really Joy but as soon as she was twenty-one and away from home, she had had it legally changed. Mrs. Hopewell Hulga was certain that she had thought and thought until she had hit upon the ugliest name in any language…Her legal name was Hulga”. Hulga also took this chance to change her name as an act of rebellion against her mother because she felt as if she was better than Mrs. Hopewell. The author is of catholic faith and she displays people who are in denial of God through Hulga Hopewell.

O’Connor creates a disposition between of having faith in God or having belief in “nothing” by using characters such as Hulga and Manley Pointer to display varying degrees of faith and putting morals into question. She uses Hulga to be a symbol of the people who do not have a faith in God, and have a belief in existentialism, the denial of God, and modern day philosophy. Hulga feels as if she needs to rid herself of religion’s delusions and falsehoods also with her belief of nothingness she feels that there is no good and bad or right and wrong. When the other main character, Manley Pointer, is introduced to the storyline he put her beliefs into question. Manley invites Hulga on a date and she agrees because she feels as if she can change his ways turning him away from God. At the end of their date Manley reveals his true colors by stealing Hulga’s wooden leg and opens his hollowed out bible only to show unholy things; Finally confronting her by shouting “I’ve been believing in nothing ever since I was born!” This shows O’Connor’s feelings towards those who are non-believers making it seem as if those who do not place their beliefs in God they will suffer in the end. The author uses the title “Good Country People” to refer to the people who believe in God, since Hulga and Manley do not believe in God they are not deemed as those. O’Connor writes “Good Country People” to attempt to make a mockery of the modern day philosophy through the main characters. She uses Hulga’s character to express how the author believes that people who act in such a manner will receive what they deserve, Manley being the one who delivers it to her.

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The Modern Day Philosophy In The Good Country People By Flannery O’connor. (2021, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from
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