With the irony of the title of Flannery O'Connor's novel, the reader is pointed in the right direction for an understanding of the narrative that revolves around the main character Joy, who renames herself Hulga. Hulga is an O'Connor character who is a soul torn between heaven and hell, looking for solace in her high-held and vain intellectualism. For, she believes herself superior to the "good country people" who are simple and uneducated. But, when the itinerant Bible salesman Manley Pointer steals Hulga's artificial leg, which has made her different, he takes away her individuality. Then, humbled by her gullibility, she is left with nothing to believe in. Yet, with her nothingness she is finally open to believe in something else even if it is evil. This is what O'Connor means by the comments of Mrs. Hopewell and Mrs. Freeman about being "simple."
The plot of any story is the events that occur in it. When someone asks you what a movie or book is about, he is asking you what the plot of it is. Perhaps you need to reread the story and take notes as you are reading. When doing a plot diagram, I tell my students to list the main events of the story from first to last. Sometimes it helps to list the first event and then ask yourself, "What happens next?" The following is an example of how you can determine the plot of this story:
- Mrs. Hopewell and Mrs. Freeman visit every day in kitchen
- Joy stomps around kitchen with her wooden leg to show how much better she is than women
- Manley Pointer, a Bible salesman, arrives and stays for dinner
- Joy (Hulga) and Manley agree to meet next morning
If you continue to do this, you will have a brief overview of the plot of the story, leading to a better understanding of what happens. I have included a link below that will also help you. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have further questions.