Similarities between Protagonists in Rebellion against Family and Search for Identity

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Joy-Hulga from “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor and Dee-Wangero from “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker are strong protagonists who share similar motives and characteristics. Joy-Hulga and Dee-Wangero both change their names in an attempt to change themselves. They both share comparable motives and reasoning for changing their names. Similarly, Joy-Hulga and Dee-Wangero act selfishly while try to escape something from their past. Joy-Hulga and Dee-Wangero both alienate themselves from their mothers while in search of their authentic inner self. Joy-Hulga and Dee-Wangero are hiding from past childhood events, both consciously and subconsciously. Although their motives and characteristics are alike, their backgrounds and heritage …show more content…
Dee changes her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo, and professes that “she’s dead,” after being asked by her mother what happened to Dee (Walker 746). Dee states that she “could not bear it any longer being named after the people that oppress” her (746). Though Dee-Wangero changes her name she cannot change her family or her culture.
Joy-Hulga and Dee-Wangero are both selfish individuals, who have little regard for their family home and have poor relationships with their mothers. Joy-Hulga is disrespectful and hateful towards her mother. She seeks out atheism and an education in philosophy because she doesn’t believe in God. For example, Joy-Hulga stomps into the kitchen and does not speak to Mrs. Hopewell or Mrs. Freeman, then later screams heatedly at her mother and demands “if she ever looks inside and see what she is not” (O’Connor 191). Joy-Hulga often speaks rudely to Mrs. Hopewell, and her actions are indecorous at times. Furthermore, because Joy-Hulga is an atheist she will not allow her mother to keep a Bible in the parlor, it is kept in the attic. Joy-Hulga “hates the complacency of her mother, and the environment in which she lives” (McCarthy 1146). Whereas, Dee-Wangero is not proud of her “share cropping life” and sees her mother as something she does not want to be (Alice Walker). Specifically, when reading to Mama and Maggie, Dee-Wangero treats them like “dimwits” as though they cannot understand the stories

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