Essay Hulga in “Good Country People”

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Hulga in “Good Country People”

“She looked at young men as if she could smell their stupidity” (638). This exemplifies the attitude of Hulga, the protagonist in “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor. Hulga is a woman who has been dealt a tough hand in life, and lives with disabilities but still maintains a wrongly arrogant front. Hulga has chosen to believe in nothing, thinking that there is no purpose to life. Through her arrogant actions, ignorance and belief in nothing, Hulga is brought to her downfall and shown the inadequacy of her beliefs in the world and herself. (a major theme in O’Connor’s writing.) O’Connor paints a picture of a woman who thinks she has everything figured out, but her use of irony in the setting shows
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This only serves to make her more ignorant by being able to see less that is really going on around her. Hulga’s ignorance and arrogance are evident in her interactions with Manly Pointer, and ultimately lead to the final climactic scene where she realizes that her beliefs were wrong. Manly gives the impression of being “real simple… just a country boy” (639). But he is a little more than just that. Hulga believes that she is smarter than him and also believes that she holds the power of lust over him and he will do what she wants to satisfy it. Arrogantly believing she is the one seducing him she lets herself into a situation that she knows little about. She has never had any men in her life, and by entering in this situation she is foolishly giving power to someone she hardly knows. This sets up the climax of the story, where Manly Pointer shows her just how flawed her views really are. In the final scene Hulga is deceived by her own ignorance and blindness. Manly convinces her to come up into the loft. He gets her to tell him she loves him. She believes this to be innocent enough, but he is just confirming just how far her arrogance would let hime go. He asks her to show him how to take the leg off and he does it himself. He then refuses to put the leg back on, and she felt “entirely dependant on him” (647). He then shows her that what she thought was a bible actually holds condoms and whiskey. She realizes then that she doesn’t have