“Good Country People”
February 24, 2008
The short story is a genre requiring its own set of interpretive tools: their linguistic density rivals poetry, while their prose form offers narrative, characterization, setting, tone, and all the other analytical categories we have discussed in class. Our encounter with two examples of this form, the O’Connor and Munro short stories, coincides with our beginning the final unit of our course, on disability and illness. In addition, we will use these final weeks to focus on developing your own analytical questions, which can help you develop more sophisticated thesis arguments.
To begin thinking about the story critically, remember your existing set of analytical tools (i.e. the Analyzing Fiction handout and the modes of analysis we have developed in class activities). Think about setting, character, voice, tone, symbolism, and theme. Also, consider the questions guiding our course: How do non-normative bodies signify relations of social, economic, racial, or political power? What can we learn from thinking more critically about representations of physical difference? We have most recently focused on racial difference. Can we apply what we learned about race to disability?
For this blog post, focus on the character of Joy/Hulga and her physical traits, one of which is her artificial leg. Please think of an analytical question about this character, then try to answer it. You can use the questions above as models for an analytical question of your own, or modify those above to something more specific.
Also, please remember to bring that Analyzing Fiction handout to class tomorrow.