Essay One Final Draft - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham Amber Shaw...

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Pham 1 Stephanie Pham Amber Shaw English Composition 1102 September 18, 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.” Although there are a number of themes included in the text, a prominent element throughout the story is one of religion and faith. Despite the fact that Hulga is not a follower of God, it can be observed that 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 the characters' occupations and also by means of symbolism to highlight the idea that humans yearn for something to believe in, even if it is not necessarily God. The careers of both Hulga and Manley Pointer are highly ironic and deviate from the ending impression left of the characters. Hulga, who has a Ph. D in philosophy, believes herself to possess complete knowledge of the inner workings of life as well as the theories behind human existence. However, philosophy is 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 her nihilistic view of the world. The imbedded
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Pham 2 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 are other indicators in the story of Hulga's
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This note was uploaded on 09/28/2011 for the course ENGL 1102 taught by Professor Cantremember during the Fall '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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Essay One Final Draft - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham Amber Shaw...

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