In the story "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Connor, how do we know that Joy/Hulga is going through an identity crisis? What aspects of her behavior or attitude show us that?

Expert Answers
rdb919 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Flannery O'Connor's story "A Good Man is Hard to Find," the character Joy/Hulga goes through an identity crisis. One of the main clues to this is her name change. Her mother named her Joy, assuming she'd be a happy, joyful child and adult. However, Joy/Hulga was quite the opposite, being sullen and taciturn as she grew up, especially after she lost her leg. By changing her name to one of the ugliest ones she could thing of--Hulga--she shows that she wants to be someone different. She also goes to school but then does not find a career in her field, preferring to stay home and be miserable. When Manley Pointer comes by, she seems interested in him and acts differently when they are alone. It is clear that Hulga does not really know who she is throughout the story, and when she is left, legless, in the barn, she seems broken and unlikely to ever figure it out.

Read the study guide:
Good Country People

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question