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

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Pham 1 Stephanie Pham Amber Shaw English 1102 September 16, 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. Within the story, it is evident that O'Connor employs situational irony through the characters' occupations as well as in the form 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 contrast the ending impression left of the characters. As the protagonist, Hulga has a Ph.D in philosophy and believes herself to possess complete knowledge of the inner workings of life and the theories behind human existence. However, philosophy is a somber subject to study, as shown by the information in her 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 a 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 bleaker 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,” which is a reflection of both her perspective of the world and herself
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Pham 2 because the '”full genius of its fitness had struck her (248-249). In addition, there are other indicators in
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Essay One Draft Three - Pham 1 Stephanie Pham Amber Shaw...

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