What are Joy/Hulga, Mrs. Freeman, Mrs. Hopewell, and Manley Pointer's views of "good country people"? And what is ironic about it?
Irony is simply a difference between expectations and reality. For example, it’s ironic that a character defined by her bitterness, anger, and discontentment should be named “Joy.”
In Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People,” the eponymous group is highly praised by Joy’s mother and denigrated by Joy herself, who has renamed herself “Hulga” in an act of rebellion. Joy studied philosophy and believes herself to be higher-minded than those individuals she is surrounded with. She is especially put off by Mrs. Freeman’s obsession with discussing her daughters’ pregnancy or admirers. If she had a choice, Hulga would not live near any “good country people,” and instead have a job at a university to be surrounded by her fellow intellectuals.
Mrs. Hopewell, on the other hand, believes Joy (or Hulga’s) philosophy overcomplicates things; it is “simple,” hardworking people who are the most admirable. Consider Mrs. Hopewell’s assessment of Mrs. Freeman: she knew...
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