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

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Pham 1 Stephanie Pham Amber Shaw English 1102 September 14, 2010 Religion and Personal Belief in Good Country People In her short story Good Country People, Flannery O'Connor writes about Joy Hulga, a handicapped woman who has a chance encounter with a seemingly 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 Joy 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 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 Joy Hulga and Manley Pointer are highly ironic and contrast the ending impression left of the characters. The protagonist, Joy Hulga, has a Ph.D in philosophy, which leads readers to conclude that she possesses complete knowledge of the inner workings of life and of the theories behind human existence. However, philosophy is not a happy subject to study, as shown by the information in her textbook: “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 through this short line is that philosophy has taught Joy Hulga to realize that the human existence ultimately amounts to “nothing,” and her extensive understanding of the 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”; she felt that she could not properly behave the way that 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
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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 UGA.

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

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