Different people share different experiences and therefore everyone establishes their own truth. Truth is something that is created by one’s opinions and although the truth is something that we consider as morally right, the truth is not always used for the right reasons. The truth never shifts into something else and it is in constant no matter the circumstances. Those who seek the truth can be regretful of it and realize that life might have been better without it.
Certain people are extremely self-centered in the sense that they forget to take take other people’s opinions and perspectives into consideration. In literary works such as Oedipus Complex by Sophocles and Flannery O’Connor’s short story such as Good Country People, characters are swept away by their own ignorance and oblivion and that they forget what is front of them. Some of these characters get tricked because they are too caught up in trying to put their own beliefs and morals into others, and some are too ignorant to realize that not everything and everyone is what it appears to be. Ultimately, these characters realize their wrongdoings and mistakes too late as well as realize that their previous life had been fake. Thus, the truth that they know and morals that they impose on other people for self gain and manipulation come back to haunt them which lead to their own fatal fall. Some of these characters realize that the truth they were seeking did not bring them the enlightenment they wanted.
In Good Country People Hulga is one if the main characters who is living a fake life. She has a fake artificial leg. Her name is not her name. And lastly unlike most people she has a weak heart, literally and metaphorically. She was named Joy by her mother, maybe because her mother thought that she’d bring her happiness. An example of Mrs. Hopewell trying to impose her own ideas and expectations on her daughter. From the start she decided to set standards on her daughter on what she wanted her to be. Joy changed it to Hulga which for some people can sound very ugly and bland but it correlates to her grumpy nature. We can see that Hulga wanted to choose her own identity and not what her mother wanted her to be. Her true nature lays within her new name but her mother still calls her by her old one because Mrs. Hopewell only knows her truthand her ideas. Hulga wanted her own identity and truth without other imposing it on her but her mother’s footsteps follow her as she starts to impose her own beliefs on others.
Hulga has many degrees as well as a Phd in philosophy. She considers herself as an atheist and has no indication in believing in God. Because of her different circumstances and beliefs she tends to be a judgmental as well as nave towards people who are not like her. She side eyes both her mother and Mrs Freeman because if their unintellectual conversations. Hulga claims that she does not believe in God but in the truth of nothing. Yet, she goes off on her mother and says: Woman! Do you ever look inside? Do you ever look inside and see what you are not? God! Malebranche was right: we are not our own light. We are not our own light!. Hulga is clearly impeding things into her own mother and this indicates that she is not the atheist we thought she was and there is a hint of uncertainty within her beliefs. We can clearly see more when Manley shows up.
Manley is 19 years old while Hugla is 30, and he spends his time selling bibles. Manley is younger than her, therefore has less experience and according to Hulga he can be manipulated easily. He is also a christian and therefore according to her those who believe in God are always morally right and have no harm to others. She thinks that someone who believes in God cannot be possible smart enough and thus is easier to manipulate. It implies that she thinks that those who are religious are stupid and have no judgments of their own. At this point Hulga believes that her truth is more right than others. She imagines how she will seduce Manley but in the end she is the one who gets seduced.
Hulga also believes that because they share a weakness together (the heart condition) she has him under her control. While they are sharing kisses Manley even takes her glasses without even noticing which symbolizes that she is under his spell and is tricked by someone who she thought was easily to manipulate. Hulga’s perception of reality changes. Her truth becomes wrong because she realizes that not everyone is what they seem to be. When Manley takes his artificial leg Hulga experiences her fatal fall because what she thought good country people were it ends up being opposite what she originally thought. She tells him: “You’re a Christian! You’re a fine Christian! You’re just like them all you say one thing and do another. You’re a perfect Christian, you’re”. Ultimately, Hugla experiences her fall because she was too blinded by her own truth and opinions that she forgot that others could be much smarter than her.
In Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, the truth is shown in a completely different way. Similar to Hulga whose name reveals her dull and uncertain nature, Oedipus’ name means screwed up foot which reveals that he had spikes on his feet when he was a child. It also reveals how his life turns out to be not the best and not what he had imagined it. Although unlike Hulga who tries to impose her truths and beliefs on others, Oedipus is confident in his own ideas and he seeks the truth for the sake of others as well as himself. He is selfless because he cares about his people and if the truth means saving his kingdom he will do anything within his power to find it. Unfortunately Oedipus’ truth for some people would be considered to be hidden for his own sake, because it is the truth that brings his fall.
From the first page we can see how Oedipus is determined to find out who killed Laius because finding the murderer would stop the plague that has swept away in his kingdom. Oedipus never knew that finding the truth about someone’s murderer would actually lead to the truth about his own identity. Oedipus is told by the chorus that Teiresias can help him find the murderer because he can see the future. When Teiresias refuses to tell him Oedipus claims that Teiresias is against him. Oedipus doesn’t give up and the prophet foreshadows that Oedipus is a threat to his own self: The man is in Thebes. To your mind he is a foreign-born, But it will soon be shown that he is a theban. Teiresias is already telling Oedipus the truth and yet Oedipus is too blind to notice it. Throughout the story Oedipus is in constant need to pursue the truth and nothing else. He summons the sheppard, the prophet, gets into arguments with Creon (his brother and law) and spends countless days trying to figure out what is going on. He is reminded of the prophecy countless times and yet he can never piece the things together. Oedipus is given countless of hints about his identity as well as warnings about not going into further digging because it will hurt him more. When Creon and Oedipus are having a conversation : Where are they? Where in the wide world to find The far, faint traces of a bygone crime In this land, said the god; “”who seeks shall find; Who sits with folded hands or sleeps is blind. Creon implies that if Oedipus will seek the truth he will find it. The problem is that will Oedipus like the truth that he will find? Will he regret digging for it?
Oedipus is determined but Iocasta starts imposing her beliefs in him. She tells him: From now on never think of those things again. Why think of him? Forget this herdsman. Forget it all. / This talk is a waste of time(50-56). She is encouraging him to drop the problem that is bothering him because it is not important. It implies that maybe Oedipus should not look for the truth because it will only bring him ruin and yet Iocaste imposing her ideas on him makes Oedipus even more determined to seek it. It shows that the truth can be extremely desirable even if it means it will bring misery.
Ultimately, when Oedipus finally puts all of the pieces of the puzzle together and reveals the truth about his identity, he is in complete shock to the point where he gouges out his own eyes. He says: But the blinding hand was my own! How could I bear to see When all my sight was horror everywhere(72)? Oedipus explains that there is nothing good for him to see and that the truth was there all along and despite the fact that he had eyes to see it, he was not able to realize it. This symbolises the truth that someone is looking for doesn’t always bring happiness to the person.
Hulga and Oedipus are different and similar in many aspects. For starters they are similar because both are blinded by what is in front of them. Hulga is so into herself that she forgets that people are not what they appear to be and essentially she is tricked by this boy who she thought meant no harm to her. On the other hand Oedipus is constantly in the need to find his truth that in the end he gets hurt by it. Different circumstances and different experiences show that the truth comes in different forms and the truth doesn’t always bring happiness to the person seeking it.
Hulga imposes her beliefs and truths on others because she thinks that they are too naive to think for themselves, while Oedipus has other people telling him that he should not seek the truth. Iocaste tells him to forget about his problem and yet Oedipus is constant need to dig it. There is a major difference between the truths that these two characters have. Hulga needs the truth because it will show the mistakes that she made. She needs it in order to realize that what she is doing is wrong. Unlike Hulga who can’t seem to notice the truths that others have, Oedipus is always in the search for it, but for him the truth brings him ruin, and some could even argue that Oedipus should have left the truth hidden somewhere where he can never find it.
Ultimately, what we know about the truth is that it never changes, but it will always change the person for either better or worse. What we know and learn about these literary works is that we shouldn’t be deceived by others because everyone has their own ideals. It doesn’t make it right for us to manipulate others because essentially you can be manipulated in return. We should take into consideration of what others are saying and acting What we know about truth can be completely different from reality and not taking others into consideration will only lead us into a downfall. Seeking the truth might not always bring us what we want and therefore we shouldn’t set expectations on them. The truth can be right in front of us but sometimes we are too ignorant to realize it, but finding it doesn’t always mean that it will bring us happiness. There needs to be a balance.
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