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Joy-Hulga In Flannery O Connor's Good Country People

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The physical impairments of Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People" illustrate a deeper meaning of Joy-Hulga's handicaps. Joy-Hulga's heart condition, artificial leg and poor eyesight symbolize her inner impairments of emotion, intellect and spiritual capabilities. By including these impairments, it shows how Joy-Hulga really is as a person and the rationality behind what she believes in. The heart condition and artificial leg symbolize the inner emotional detachment she has to her family and herself. Mrs. Hopewell describes Joy-Hulga as "bloated, rude and squint-eyed" and even despite these characteristics, Joy-Hulga's mother still continues to show her love and compassion (O'Connor 558). Yet Joy-Hulga lacks compassion for others and returns "this affection with exasperation and disgust", according to Kate Oliver from University of Central Florida ( 234). Joy-Hul does not show any positive emotions throughout the story, which help prove how she treats people. Secondly, Oliver states that, "[Joy-Hulga] emotionally…show more content…
Since the hunting accident, Joy-Hulga has proclaimed herself as a atheist; she refuses to allow her mother who is a Christian have her Bible in the general living area. Oliver explains how Joy-Hulga has "replaced these missing items with an artificial leg and an artificial belief" due to the "nothing" that Joy-Hulga worships throughout the story (234). The "nothing" she worships comes from the "philosophy of nothing" according to Oliver (236). Joy-Hulga sees philosophy as her religion and her safe haven. With philosophy she believes she can outsmart Manley Pointer and seduce him. However, this is not the case because Manley Pointer was able to deceive her and strip her of her only belief system which is her artificial leg. He does this by getting her to show him how to take it off. Therefor she can no longer move around and is left
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