The name Hulga holds no meaning and the only reason why Joy chooses it is because it sounds ugly. The name itself is symbolic to Joy’s character. Just like she has a weak body and heart, similarly she possesses an ugly soul. …
She holds no compassion for anyone including her mother towards whom she continuously makes rude remarks. An important part of Hulga’s character is her missing leg. Initially she used to be insecure and fearful because of her wooden leg but as she grew up she realized that it was an inevitable part of her. She does not allow anyone to come near it nor allowing anyone to see it, indicating her possessiveness towards her artificial leg. Despite her professed beliefs, Hulga had some reservations about her looks and age as she always wanted to portray herself younger than she actually was. Mrs. Hopewell “thought of her daughter as a child though she was thirty-two years old and highly educated” (271). Moreover Hulga showed similar childish behavior. “all day [she wore] a six-year-old skirt and a yellow sweat shirt with a faded cowboy on a horse embossed on it” (276). When Manly Pointer requested her age, she replied seventeen (283). The first mention of Joy in the story is as Mrs. Hopewell’s daughter, as a “large blonde girl who had an artificial leg” (271). Joy is totally dependent on her mother because of her physical disability. When she was ten, Joy lost her leg in an accident during hunting. In addition to her physical disability, she had heart problems because of which she could not go away from her home. In short, her health confined her to her home with her mother as her only caretaker. ...
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