Does Mrs. Hopewell's character in any way help to explain her daughter's character?

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rdb919 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People," two main characters are in conflict during the first half of the story: Hulga and her mother, Mrs. Hopewell. Mrs. Hopewell and Hulga are complete opposites. Mrs. Hopewell is positive and optimistic, while Hulga is negative and cynical. The mother's expectations for her daughter are traditional, but Hulga resists these expectations at every turn. Some might argue that Hulga's overt resistance to her mother is what has shaped her into the unhappy person that she has become. Had Mrs. Hopewell not put unrealistic expectations on her daughter, she may not have resisted so much. An example of Hulga's resistance was changing her name from Joy to Hulga. Therefore, Mrs. Hopewell, who hopes that her daughter will turn out well, has pushed her in the opposite direction, ensuring a character which is quite the opposite of the one she wanted.

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Good Country People

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