Good Country People Questions and Answers
by Flannery O’Connor

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In Flannery O'Connor's short story "Good Country People," what ironies does Joy/Hulga not realize about herself?

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Within "Good Country People," Joy (or Hulga) exhibits a great deal of intellectual pride. She holds the people around her in contempt, viewing herself as their intellectual superior on account of her education and PhD. In this sense, the great irony of this story is that even though Joy pedestalizes herself as educated and intelligent, she is not far removed from the people she disdains. She is blinded by preconceptions, and passes judgment on the people around her.

Furthermore, consider the picture O'Connor presents in the following passage:

She had a weak heart. Joy had made it plain that if it had not been for her condition, she would be far from these red hills and good ordinary people. She would be in a university lecturing to people who knew what she was talking about. (Flannery O'Connor, "Good Country People")

For all these pretensions on what she should be doing with her life, reality paints a far less glamorous picture. Hulga/Joy is petty, and she devotes much of her energy to...

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