The short story Good Country People by Flannery O’Connor, is didactic literature, with hefty character analysis to portray that people are not who they appear to be. Hulga, a 32 year old woman with a heart condition. O’Connor portrays Hulga as an experience and strong woman, but through analysis Hulga is well educated but childish and weak Hulga obtains a PhD in philosophy and is taught by highly intellectual people.
Hulga has the impression of herself that because she has gone to school for many years and obtain her PhD that she is an experienced woman. In the beginning of the story that is how she appears to be. “Science on the other hand, has to assert its soberness and seriousness afresh and declare that it is concerned solely with what is. ” A line underline in blue pencil, therefore it can be inferred that this quote is of importance to Hulga.
Hulga, in this sense is to be thought of as well educated because of her exposure and open mindedness to her religious mother and scientific education leaving her to feel as if she is well experienced, when she is only educated. Her mother is religious therefore Hulga being exposed to religion and while in college educated with science and allowing her to make an informed decision on her beliefs, which is atheism. She has a more open mind for she sees what is in front of her and not what just is told to be true.
Therefore she is not well experienced but just well educated. Also her lack of experience is evident when her first date is at the age of 32, when in society that happens when a person is an adolescent, therefore inferring that she has missed important stages in life that add to a person’s experience. Leading to the theme people are not who they appear to be. Hulga, appearing to be experienced is only a well-educated woman. Hulga is childish, thus rebuking the original thought of Hulga as experienced.
Hulga falls for the multitude of compliments and lies the boy selling the Bible fills her head with. “You’re a brave sweet little thing and I liked you the minute I seen you walk in the door. ” Hulga believes that this is how he truly thinks of her when in reality he is just using her. “During the night she imagined she had seduced him. ” Hulga, holding such thoughts is seen to be childish because one who is not, understands and would realize deep feeling needs to be given time and does not happen overnight.
Even though Hulga is portrayed as experienced because she is uneasy about the situation, she is in reality childish because she falls for the boy’s lies. Also she is seen to be a strong woman, but she is not because she did not stand her ground and fell for the boy’s lies. Therefore leading the reader to see that people are not who they appear to be, as Hulga is just as childish as she is educated. Hulga because of her heart condition is depicted to be a strong woman, but she is really a weak and vulnerable human being.
She gave a little cry of alarm but he pushed her down and began to kiss her again. Without the leg she felt entirely dependent on him. ” Her mental well-being is far from strong. She is weak because without her leg she is left to feel utterly weak and vulnerable and dependable on a boy who she vaguely knows. O’Connor from the beginning of the short story was portraying Hulga to be a woman that was strong, for she had a heart condition that could claim her life at any time but, she still continued on with her life in the form of education.
Hulga reserved, spent most of her time alone, leading the reader to believe that she did not need anyone in particular in her life to make her feel as if she was important. But, with insight from this particular scene. the reader can see that she is a pure vulnerable and weak human being for she does not know how to conduct herself in such a situation out of her control; Leading to the theme people are not who they appear to be. Hulga appears to be strong and independent when in reality she is a weak human being.
O’Connor’s didactic literature uses character analysis to portray the theme people are not who they appear to be using a 32 year old woman who is disabled and an atheist. O’Connor portrays Hulga to be experienced and strong but when placed in a situation that is unfamiliar to a person, her true colors shows and the reader sees her for who she really is. A well-educated but inexperienced, childish and weak human being, leading to the lesson, people are not who they appear to be.
Courtney from Study Moose
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