Major Themes in Good Country People
Good Country People is an ironic story where the character of O’Connor revolves around selfishness and pride. O’Connor realizes these characters through a shocking revelation. Hulga emerges as a liberator for the good country people. The following themes are eminent in the book.
The principal characters in O’Connor’s book suffer from physical deformities. For example, Mr. Shiftlet has a missing arm while Lucy Crater is suffering from a mental disorder. Both Crater and Mr. Shiftlet are among the protagonists in the book. Similarly, Mr. Paradise is suffering from cancer. Hulga felt timid with her wooden leg. Nevertheless, she learns to keep her wooden leg sacred. Indeed, she seems to value the leg beyond reproach. Since Hulga lacks faith, she nearly replaces God with her wooden leg. As a result, Manley betrays her to the brim. Mrs. Freeman enjoys stories about disabilities and deformities. Mrs. Hopewell uses the opportunity to narrate the ordeal that made Hulga lost her leg. Just like Hulga, Rufus Johnson values the club foot. He believes that the lame will earn priority in heaven.
Experience and Innocence
The protagonists such as Hulga fail to recognize their innocence. Indeed, Hulga holds that her experience supersedes the world because she had accessed different scholars. Hulga believes in the philosophers’ words that recognize the significance of science. She denies God by affirming the ascendancy of nothing. She fails to acknowledge Manley at all costs. To her, God portrays meaningful ideals incomparable to evil. The presence of “innocence” allows Manley to embrace spiritual being. Manley symbolises God with snatching the wooden leg from Hulga. Manley seems to understand the situation and can distinguish the wrong from right. Manley believes that Hulga can never move without the artificial legs. Therefore, she concludes that meaning beyond nothing was inevitable.
Language emerges as a tool used to trigger physical violence. In the stories, language seems to be a recurring image of violence. In the story of ‘the displaced persons, an imaginary battle becomes eminent. The English language and the Polish language are the sources of the battle. Mrs. Shortley expresses great fear especially in relating with Guizac family. Mrs. Shortley imagines the war of words involving the use of the languages. For example, Father Flynn receives adverse yells from Mrs. McIntyre. Indeed, Mrs. McIntyre fails to listen to Father Flynn while preaching. Asbury uses language as a tool of violence. He uses the strongest terms possible to ask the Jesuit priest to pay him a visit. However, Asbury’s mother tells him that he is suffering from undulant fever. The mother unleashes strong words like gunshots.
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