Essay One Final Draft Portfolio

Essay One Final Draft Portfolio - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham...

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Pham 1 Stephanie Pham Amber Shaw English 1102 7 December 2010 Religion and Personal Belief in “Good Country People” In her short story Good Country People, Flannery O'Connor writes about Hulga, a handicapped woman who has a chance encounter with a deceptively innocent youth known as “Manley Pointer.” There are a number of motifs in the story: pride, innocence, and experience, but the most prominent elements throughout the story are those of religion and faith. Despite the fact that Hulga is not a follower of God, she has personal belief in other things, such as “good country people” as represented by Manley Pointer. In the story, it is evident that O'Connor employs situational irony through Hulga's occupation and utilizes her artificial leg as a symbol to highlight the idea that humans yearn for something to believe in, even if it is not necessarily God. O'Connor sets up the premise for Hulga's situation when she writes Hulga as a philosopher because it gives insight into her character and background. She has a Ph.D in philosophy and believes herself to possess complete knowledge of the inner workings of life as well as the theories behind human existence. Inherently, philosophy can be considered as a depressing subject to study, as illustrated by the information in one of her textbooks: “Science has to. ..declare that it is concerned solely with what is. Nothing. ..we know it by wishing to know nothing of Nothing” (250). The notion given in this short line is that human existence ultimately amounts to “nothing” after death and Hulga's extensive understanding of this concept has led to
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Pham 2 her nihilistic view of the world. The imbedded pessimism in her life is evident in her change of name from “Joy” to “Hulga”; because of her awareness of the dark theories of life, she felt she could not behave the way someone named “Joy” is expected to, and wanted to be known by the “ugliest name in any language”(248). She reveals that the the “full genius of its fitness had struck her,” affirming her true view of not only the world, but herself as well (249). In addition, there
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Essay One Final Draft Portfolio - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham...

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