Essay, Research Paper: Beowulf And Irony

Literature: Beowulf

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O’Connor uses irony in “Good Country People” to give the reader a better
sense of what she is trying to communicate to the reader, and show the meaning
of her characters and their actions. There are several ironies in the story that
the reader can see in there first reading, but there are several that need more
attention. The first is Hulga’s mother and people around them. The second
example is the Bible salesman, and the way he fools everyone but Mrs. Hopewell.
The last is the main character Hulga whose personality is an irony in itself.
All three of these give different examples of irony, that leaves the reader
wondering about O’Connor’s cleverness in thinking. The first ironies
involves Hulgas mother and the people she talks about. Mrs. Hopewell says that
Mrs. Freeman is a person who never admits she was wrong and that she is into
everyone’s business. She then says Mrs. Freeman is a lady. Another example is
when she describes Mrs. Freeman’s daughters Glynese and Carramae, “as the
finest girls she ever knew”(393) immediately after the reader learns that
Carramae is only fifteen and already pregnant and married, and Glynese was
eighteen but already had many admirers. The second source of irony is in the
Bible salesman and the fact that he turns out to not be such a good country
person. He appears to be a simple boy spreading the word of God through the
world with the little time he has, due to the ailment suspiciously similar to
the what Hulga is supposedly dying of. His whole character is an irony. He says
he is a Bible salesman but, in fact, is not even a Christian. The bible he
carries around, has two sides like its owner. On its outside, it seems to be a
good old bible, but when it is opened the reader finds alcohol, playing cards,
and other objects that show the salesman’s true character. Another irony is
the way the salesman fools Hulga into thinking he is not very bright and then he
turns around and tricks her into giving him her false leg. The last example is
the main character Hulga. The first irony in Hulga is the fact that she has an
exceptional education, but she is still fooled by the simple Bible salesman. She
also has an irony similar to the Bible-Salesman. Hulga is a tough, educated,
invulnerable woman with her leg on, but as soon as she takes it off, she reverts
to Joy who is still a vulnerable little girl. Another irony is that she is mean
to all who are nice to her and she is nice to the one person who is cruel to
her, and shows her no compassion. All of these examples of irony show
O’Connor’s cleverness. They also show the different aspects, which makes the
reader think and contemplate deeper into the meaning of O’Connor’s words.
“Good Country People” is just one example of how irony is used by one
author, after someone reads a story like this, one should be more aware of
ironies in Literature
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