O'Connor, Good Country People: What is the meaning of this?
As classmate Brenda pointed out, Flannery O'Connor seems to deliberately return to the same theme over and over again in each of the short stories we've read. But I think that the repetitive nature of O'Connor's writing helps her works to accomplish their purpose more effectively.
While reading "Good Country People," I was completely emotionally stricken. O'Connor's depiction of humanity's struggle with surrender and submission touched me more deeply than most of the modern works I've read lately. At one point--when Hulga starts shushing the boy and trying to seduce him into atheism--I actually felt some kind of strong internal reaction and inexplicably threw the book across the room. I felt repulsed, furious, and horrified all at the same time. Very few stories have ever drilled that far into my core, and it was certainly a surprise to me.
While doing preliminary research and preparing a proposal for my third literary research paper--a paper which examines the archetypes of the characters within the story--I started to understand why the story was able to stab at my nerves; in Hulga, I saw some of my own worst qualities, and in her friendship and succeeding struggle with the Bible-sellling boy (her shadow aspect), I saw an internal battle that I continue to fight daily. In my paper, I plan to explain how the boy showed Hulga her own flaws and helped her to understand them. It mirrors my experience while reading the story; I recognized some of my own flaws, and O'Connor's writing helped me to understand them. What a fantastic height to reach in the craft of writing, to have such an impact on people for generations. I'm reminded of my own goals as a writer.