Morality In Flannery O Connor's Good Country People

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Can a literary work be so far removed from our modern culture that it has nothing to offer it? Is our culture too advanced to learn a lesson from another generation? Value and meaning in literature are undoubtedly subjective. If we cannot learn a lesson or be reminded of some idea we had previously be told, literature seems to become irrelevant. But does the story “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor really fit into what we would consider irrelevant? At first glance, the story of a woman who has her fake wooden leg stolen by a bible salesman does seem a bit out of touch with our current culture. But it is in the character’s qualities, good and bad, along with the symbolism in the plot that truly adds to the never-ending discussion of …show more content…
When speaking of morality, I am not pointing toward religious beliefs. It does not take religion to construct a personal view of right and wrong. I am also not speaking of right and wrong in a universal sense. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that all 6 billion people cannot agree on morality. However, if one agrees that personal morality is a necessity for making the human experience better, “Good Country People” is absolutely relevant today.
In the story, Hulga is the main character and the most complicated character. Her superficial flaws, in this case a wooden leg and heart condition, seemed to be the starting point for her character flaws. Although she is very well-educated, having earned a PhD in philosophy, Hulga lacks common sense and common courtesy. Her unwillingness to associate herself with those around her has made Hulga a very unlikeable person. She is very quick to speak her mind, and takes pleasure in mocking her mother’s religious beliefs. She claims to have no faith, yet she believes that her own education has saved her from the ridiculous religious beliefs of those around her. Whether her physical conditions have affected her ability to believe in God, Hulga has a certain arrogance that accompanies her
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A dialogue about what it means to be a “good” person can lead us to the right path. Stories like this give college students the chance to discuss and debate morality. Students should be encouraged to answer questions like “does Hulga have the right to treat people the way she does?” or “was Manley’s actions justified since Hulga wasn’t the most admirable person?” If nothing else, those who read this story will identify with certain characters and ideas. What they will learn is the outcomes of the behavior they associate with, challenging them to think twice about their own actions. There are so many thought-provoking questions in this piece of literature. One of the hindrances of morality is indifference. Those who don’t think twice about their own morals are in jeopardy of hurting others and allowing injustice in the world. It

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