Flannery O Connor's Good Country People

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In “Good Country People,” by Flannery O’Connor, the protagonist’s internal struggle with her identity stems from both an undiagnosed mental disorder and a lack of parental guidance since her traumatic accident. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) causes 32-year-old Joy Hopewell to be a perpetual teenager, which affects her relationships as an adult. In addition, Joy’s mother's parenting style was based off of pity from the accident resulting in an absence of guidance during Joy’s formative years. As a teenager, Joy gets accustomed to receiving unsolicited pity from everyone, which burdens her later in life. Thus, by being pitied, Joy expresses discontent with her life by acting out in a rebellious state. Joy becomes resentful of everyone and has no sympathy for people because they do not accept her. The lasting…show more content…
Hulga carries this teen angst to adulthood which is associated with her identity. O’Connor documents Hulga’s life which correlates with the attitude of privileged southerners during the 1950’s. During this time southerners benefitted from the economic boom following World War II, but remained racist as civil rights issues began to surface. Consequently, the southern way of life during this time period is also a factor in forming Hulga’s identity. From Hulga’s point of view, having servants was normal as was treating them poorly. Due to her mother caring about the farm, she disposed of servants with bad work ethics. Unknowingly, Mrs. Hopewell passes this decorum to her daughter and the narrator says, “She had had plenty of experience with trash. Before the Freemans she had averaged one tenant family a year. The wives of these farmers were not the kind you would want to be around you for very long.” Children learn manners, gratitude, and integrity from their parents which are all things Hulga was not exposed to. As a child Hulga believed it was
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