The Character of Hulga in Good Country People by Mary Flannery O'Connor

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The Character of Hulga in Good Country People by Mary Flannery O'Connor

By definition joy means a great feeling of pleasure and happiness. In Mary Flannery O'Connor's short story Good Country People, Joy Freeman was not at all joyful. Actually, she was the exact opposite. Joy's leg was shot off in a hunting accident when she was ten. Because of that incident, Joy was a stout girl in her thirties who had never danced a step or had any normal good times. (O'Connor 249). She had a wooden leg that only brought her teasing from others and problems in doing daily activities. Joy was very rude as well. In the story it speaks of her comments being so rude and ugly and her face so glum that her mother's boss, Mrs. Hopewell, would
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The name Joy did not reflect Joy Freeman's personality or appearance. Those two ugly sounding syllables helped to round out Joy's appearance and reflected her gloomy personality.

Many children are named according to ancient biblical figures or even symbols that represent character. Joy did not believe her named represented her as an individual. When one thinks of the name Joy, one would think of a perky little girl that was pleasant to be around. As stated, joy means a great feeling of pleasure or happiness. Joy was not happy nor did she find any pleasure in her life. Joy did not believe she fitted that stereotype or the definition, nor did she really want to. When one thinks of the name Hulga, one would think of someone that was big, strong, and abrupt. So consequently she legally changed her name to Hulga when she was twenty-one. She believed she was ugly inside and out and that the name Hulga would represent her well. Joy was a large blonde girl who had an artificial leg. (O'Connor 248). She went about all day in a six-year old skirt and a yellow sweatshirt with a faded cowboy on a horse embossed on it. (O'Connor 250-251). She was thirty-two and still never knew the simple affection from the opposite sex. She did not really like young men any ways. She looked at young men as if she could smell their stupidity. (O'Connor 251). Later on in the story a con-artist bible salesman by the name
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