What does this quote mean "there is a wooden part of Hugla's soul that corresponds to her wooden leg"?  Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People"

1 Answer | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

While her stories--according to Flannery O'Connor herself--are about "conversion and grace," the short story "Good Country People" leaves unanswered the question of salvation.  And, it is the "wooden part of Hulga's soul" that is the cause of this doubt about her redemption as Manly Pointer leaves her stranded in the straw of the loft. True, she has gained the knowledge of evil; however, there is no indication of Hulga's experience as redemptive because the narrative ends.

Yet, the reader must consider that with her foolish pretensions of intellectual superiority, Hulga has prized her leg as another mark of distinction. Therefore, with her leg being analogous to her soul as indicated in the quote above,when she loses her leg, Hulga mayvery well have also lost her pretensions of superiority and the belief in nothing, leaving her with what O'Connor terms "a [new] sense of Being" in which she can be receptive to grace and redemption.  For, Faith is simple if one is only open to it. And, Hulga's "churning face" as she turns and watches Pointer run away may certainly suggest such an act of opening.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question