Good and Evil in Good Country People

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Good and Evil in Good Country People

In her short story, Good Country People, Flannery O’Connor employs all the elements of humor, irony and, paradox intermingled within the system of Christian belief in evil and redemption. This is no more evident than in the character of Joy, the daughter, who had lost a leg in a hunting accident at the age of 12 and who now has a wooden leg in his place. Throughout the story, it becomes increasingly clear that Joy’s physical affliction is closely paralleled by a spiritual one as well. As the narrative unfolds, the great lengths Joy has gone to recreate her inner self, her soul, are revealed in painstaking detail. It appears she has succeeded in fashioning her own soul into a spirit that is as hard and unyielding as the prosthesis that now takes the place of her missing naturally soft and flexible appendage.

In Christian society and belief, as well as many other religions, the one true possession that a person has total control over is their everlasting soul. It is this spirit that makes one truly unique from everyone else. The fight within one’s self between good and evil and the day to day struggle to ensure that the goodness prevails is the focal point of a true believer’s life. It is only by this triumph on goodness that he can achieve Salvation in the eyes of God.

Joy, on the other hand, seems intent on building barriers around her soul that would make it as rigid and unfeeling as her wooden leg. As did the surgeon who had to perform the prosthetic surgery years before to replace a natural part of her physical body, she is apparently trying to perform this same function with the spiritual side of herself as well. She has taken great care to recreate her « self » into one th...

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...ears were now completely useless. To be an atheist and realize, not that there is a God, but discover there is a Devil, must be a very chilling and disheartening experience. For if there is definitely one, there must be the other.

Works Cited

Asals, Frederick. Flannery O’Connor : The Imagination of Extremity. The University of Georgia Press : Athens, Georgia, 1982.

Brinkmeyer, Robert H. The Art and Vision of Flannery O’Connor. Louisiana State University Press : Baton Rouge, Louisiana , 1989.

DiYanni, Robert. Literature Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the Essay. McGraw Hill : Boston, Massachusette, 1998.

Eggenschwiler, David. The Christian Humanism of Flannery O’Connor. Wayne State University Press : Detroit, Michigan, 1972.

Feeley, Kathleen. Flannery O’Connor : Voice of the Peacock. Rugers University Press : New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1972.

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