Flannery O'Connor's Stories

Faith and Philosophy in Flannery O’ Connor’s “Good Country People” College

Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Good Country People” mocks modern philosophy and those who follow it by suggesting that those who turn away from God will be taught, in one way or another, that God is real. The story, which takes place in the south, follows a girl who favors modern philosophy and how she is taken down by what seems to be the divinity of God. Through the characters presented in the story, O’Connor’s beliefs about Christianity and modern philosophy are revealed.

At the beginning of the story, Hulga is introduced as an arrogant girl with a belief in nothingness. She has a PhD in philosophy and sees herself as better than the people around her. The narrator describes her through the eyes of her mother, Mrs. Hopewell; “She was brilliant but she didn’t have a grain of sense. It seemed to Mrs. Hopewell that every year she grew less like other people and more like herself – bloated, rude, and squint-eyed” (1343). Hulga believes in existentialism and philosophy, which is exercise in the denial of God, and she takes arrogant pride in believing that she knows far more than her mother, or any other country person does, because she does not follow God. Flannery O’Connor, having a traditional conception of God, represents...

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