How does the main conflict in "Good Country People" affect the way the protaganist interacts with the other characters in the story.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Joy Hulga, the protagonist in O'Connor's "Good Country People", basically fails to interact with anyone throughout the story. Her only attempt at true interaction is ruined by the way that Manley Pointer treats her.

One of Joy Hulga's main conflicts is that she finds all people beneath her based upon their lack of education. Joy-Hulga possesses a Ph.D. in philosophy. She finds that people are simply stupid. Joy-Hulga simply fails to be able to interact with anyone based upon her own personal issues with identity.

Given that Joy-Hulga fails to find anyone around her who can talk on her level, when Pointer enters her life she finds him instantly interesting. She believes that he is not stupid as the others around her and that she could probably teach him something.

She fails to truly interact with anyone in the story but Pointer. Once she begins to interact with him, she is swept off of her feet. He, unfortunately, further eschews her thoughts about mankind when he steal her leg and leaves her immobile in a barn loft.

The second main conflict (Joy-Hulga's inability to find herself) adds to the fact that she cannot interact with other people. Her lack of identity accentuates the fact that she is unable to identify with others. Perhaps if she would have found some hint of self-realization prior to the story, she would have been able to identify the kind of man Pointer really was.

 

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