Good Country People: A tale of…

November 17, 2018 Philosophy

Good Country People: A tale of Irony and HypocrisyIn the story “Good Country People”, Flannery O’ Connor uses symbolism to show the story’s ironic theme.Hulga, our main character, values herself to be intellectually superior to others around her. That belief had been fueled by living around uneducated country people while she had a doctorate in philosophy. At the end of the story, we find her alone in a barn with Manley Pointer, a Bible salesman. From his profession, she thought of him as a religious man, but soon realizes that it is not the case from his possessions:He leaned the other way and pulled the valise toward him and opened it. It had a pale blue spotted lining and there were only two Bibles in it. He took one of these out and opened the cover of it. It was hollow and contained a pocket flask of whiskey, a pack of cards, and a small blue box with printing on it… He stopped and pointed, with a smile, to the deck of cards. It was not an ordinary deck but one with an obscene picture on the back of each card. (203)The hollow Bible symbolizes Mr. Pointer’s deep faith. While it was expected for him to be deeply religious judging from his work, his beliefs were actually atheistic. Hulga wanted to fulfill her hypocritical desires by taking advantage of Manley’s religious personality. Blinded by her own arrogance, she failed to realize it was actually her that was being taken advantage of. She was bamboozled into losing her most precious possession by the man she sought to possess. The hollow Bible gave Hulga expectations of Mr. Manley which were wrong. This disillusionment doesn’t only apply to our main character, but to the readers themselves. Expecting a certain personality of him that turned out to be totally wrong was initiated by symbolism in the story. That is how the story’s irony was shown through the use of symbols

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