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In Flannery O'Conner's "Good Country People" how are the characters names significant?  

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yankees11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 25, 2011 at 5:45 AM via web

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In Flannery O'Conner's "Good Country People" how are the characters names significant?

 

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted June 27, 2011 at 1:36 PM (Answer #1)

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"Good Country People" is a short story by Flannery O'Connor about a bible salesman, Manley Pointer, who deceives people about his intentions and who likes to steal artificial body parts, including artificial legs.

Hulga, who changed her name from "Joy", is obviously significant.  "Joy" is a name associated with happiness; however, "Joy" hates the name and changes it to "Hulga" in part to spite her mother.

Manley Pointer is the bible salesman who comes to call at Hulga's house.   Manley is significant because he is anything but a real "man." He is a liar and a thief.

Also, there can be significance in the name "Hopewell", which is the last name of Hulga and her mother.  "Hope" and "well" both have positive meanings as separate words, but what happens in the story is far from hopeful and good.  If anything, it shakes Hulga's sense of self-importance and superiority.

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