Why are Hulga and Manley drawn to each other in "Good Country People"?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a sense of "otherness" about both of them which draw them to each other.  She rejects those around her--her mother, her mother's friends, others in the community--for being ignorant and uneducated.  She rejects their "happy" attitudes by changing her name from "Joy" to "Hulga"--you can't much uglier than that.  She also makes much unnecessary noise with her leg to emphasize her unhappiness and the fact that things are not perfectly joyful in her life.

Manley is a thief.  Plain and simple.  He poses as a Bible salesman, but in his case are cards, alcohol, and trinkets he has stolen from his victims.  This case is where Hulga's leg goes as he leaves her stranded in the hayloft.  The irony is that she--the super smart one who is condescending to those ignorant fools around her--has been outsmarted by one of the "good country people" she despises.  She had meant to teach him a lesson, and the teacher has become the student of hard knocks.

 

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Good Country People

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