Hulga Character Analysis

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Register to read the introduction… At her mother’s failure to understand her, she withdraws completely and refuses to attempt any meaningful relationship with her mother. She changed her name from Joy to Hulga as part of one of greatest triumphs turning herself into Hulga. Hulga is always trying to escape from the Southern social conventions and stereotypes in which her mother and Mrs. Freeman are immersed. Hulga is very self-assured about herself and her vision of life, which is a nihilistic and atheist point of view; as one of her books reads: "If science is right, then one thing stand firm: Science wishes to know nothing of nothing. Such is after all the strictly scientific approach to Nothing. We know it by wishing to know nothing of Nothing” (O'Connor 268-9). She is also very proud of her education; she thinks that it makes her superior than all of these “country people” with their simple ways and religious beliefs, and as a result refuses to intermingle with any of the people around her. Hulga is blind to the world as it really is and it is ironic since she attempts to show her mother’s blindness to her and ends up revealing her own. She even fantasizes about showing Pointer how the world really “works” but it’s he who teaches her a lesson about the real …show more content…
Hulga's epiphany, or moment of grace, occurs as a result of Pointer's betrayal of her faith in him and his destruction of her intellectual pretensions. Prior to his betrayal of her, Hulga considered herself to be the intellectual superior of all those around her. She relied upon the wisdom of this world to guide her, contrary to the biblical warning to "See to it that no one deceives you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to human traditions, according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ" (New King James Version, Colossians 2:8). O'Connor uses the final paragraphs of the story to make the parallel which she established earlier between Hulga and her mother even clearer. Hulga has now undergone mortification, and Mrs. Hopewell appears to be facing a future revelation. Mrs. Hopewell's analysis of Pointer, "He was so simple . . . but I guess the world would be better off if we were all that simple” (O'Connor 283) is as wrong as Hulga's earlier assessment of Pointer. The final irony in the story involves Mrs. Freeman's response: "Some can't be that simple. . . . I know I never could” (O'Connor 284). Thus, the reader is left with the impression that Mrs. Hopewell will also have to go through an experience which will destroy the confidence she has in her ability to control and to use Mrs.

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