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In "Good Country People," the character known as Joy who changes her name to Hulga does so to reflect both her physical appearance and as a reflection of her soul. Hulga has a wooden leg, she is very detached from life, feels ugly and believes in nothing. She has no faith, not in God, not in man, and not in herself to be happy.
Hulga actually believes in viewing the world through negative eyes. Outwardly hostile to her mother, Hulga has gotten a PHD to set herself apart from others with the belief that she knows about life from having read the great philosophers.
Joy believes that by changing her name to Hulga, she is being more honest with herself. The brutal truth, stripped bare is what Hulga wants, she does not want to sugarcoat her life. It is what it is, she has a wooden leg and believes that her life will be limited and lonely.
"Indeed, she wants to make herself as unpleasant as possible, stomping about and being rude to everyone. She resents her mother not only because of her mother’s simplistic view of life but also because her mother does not accept her for who she is. “If you want me, here I am—LIKE I AM,” Hulga defiantly tells her."
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