Mrs. Hopewell's last name represents her optimism, Christian beliefs, and good faith in people. She seems to barely perceive that evil exists in the world or that Manley Pointer is anything but the good country man he claims to be.
Hulga renamed herself as such because she feels an ugly name better reflects how rotten reality is as well as how she feels about herself (she is self-conscious about her wooden leg). She claims to be a nihilist, as in a person who believes life is meaningless and absurd. Her real name is Joy, but she rejects any idea of goodness. She prefers to stew in misery and cynicism. When Bible salesman Manley Pointer appears, she takes his naive, good-natured facade at face value and tries to seduce him in order to prove that goodness does not exist and that Manley's religiosity is a brittle sham.
Manley Pointer turns out to be the villain of the piece. Unlike Hulga, he is a true nihilist and quite amoral. His full name is a phallic pun , referring to how he is the one...
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