Haze Motes Visionary or false prophet Look closer, he may simply be a tortured soul who has lost his faith He believes he is beyond redemption, and wouldn t care to have it anyway Enoch Emery, he of the wise blood Taking chances on the meaning of things Mayhap he is the visionary, probably he is just desperate for a friend Having grown up hearing the country dialect used here, I will say it was pitch perfect Published in 1952, this novel is almost as old as I am Sadly, I was not able to sync up with it, and fear I may have missed the point of the whole exercise Interesting characters, though. Hapless IronyFlannery O Connor was a woman who knew her world Not just the gentile facade of a world but the nits and grits and dirt under the finger nails world of poor black folk and edgy white trash, of the huckster and the street beggar, the good ole boy and the smug gossip, the person of faith and the person of lost faith, the arch prostitute and her bumbling client They are misfits, defectives, near psychotics, needy obsessives, fanatics O Connor knew how these people act in this world, and how they speak, and, important, what they are completely unaware and incapable of They don t know how to act and speak in many circumstances Not necessarily because they are uneducated or inexperienced but because the culture of which they are a part demands their role of ignorance and ineptitude It s in their blood They have a place and best stay put.Call it the Old South for convenience or American Gothic for legitimacy But this world is the one in which we all live We might shiver a bit at the casual racism of a Hazel Motes, or chuckle at his use of a toilet wall in a public convenience as a local yellow pages Nonetheless, our everyday language is equally thoughtless And the evening television news is hardly any less gossip ridden and tawdry than the scrawls in the average men s room Enoch Emery s pointless attachment to Haze and his bizarre interpretation of what s needed to help him succeed are symptoms of an insanity equally evident in recent American political rallies.The suspicion laden, functionally autistic interactions we have every day on public transport, walking down the street, in run of the mill commercial transactions are essentially no different from those of O Connor s country bumpkins But this is how she gets us to pay attention to them, by using the bumpkins and rubes to make her point fairly painlessly But that point is no less clear as a consequence no one escapes life undamaged and the damage only gets repaired through other damaged folk.Despite the apparent horror of the book, it is her underlying, soft, meticulously articulated irony that makes O Connor so hypnotically attractive to me A rusted iron glove filled with scented cotton rather than a fist But oh what an after effect The blow comes after one stops reading Understanding comes without an argument but through her so precise hints and suggestions What unites us as human beings is not some abstract essence or capacity but a thorough going and fateful haplessness Through her we become conscious of being subject to the vagaries of our time and place Paradoxically, it is an appreciation of this haplessness not religious belief or its absence that offers freedom. Wise Blood, Flannery O Connor S Astonishing And Haunting First Novel, Is A Classic Of Twentieth Century Literature It Is A Story Of Hazel Motes, A Twenty Two Year Old Caught In An Unending Struggle Against His Innate, Desperate Faith He Falls Under The Spell Of A Blind Street Preacher Named Asa Hawks And His Degenerate Fifteen Year Old Daughter, Lily Sabbath In An Ironic, Malicious Gesture Of His Own Non Faith, And To Prove Himself A Greater Cynic Than Hawkes, Hazel Motes Founds The Church Of God Without Christ, But Is Still Thwarted In His Efforts To Lose God He Meets Enoch Emery, A Young Man With Wise Blood, Who Leads Him To A Mummified Holy Child, And Whose Crazy Maneuvers Are A Manifestation Of Hazel S Existential Struggles This Tale Of Redemption, Retribution, False Prophets, Blindness, Blindings, And Wisdoms Gives Us One Of The Most Riveting Characters In Twentieth Century American Fiction Wise Blood is Flannery O Connor s first book and it is a beautiful, brutal work of art We are introduced to Hazel Motes on a train with his army issued duffel bag being annoying by the woman next to him on the train He is completely dislocated, as we see in the first sentenceHazel Motes sat at a forward angle on the green plush train seat, looking one minute at the window as if he might want to jump out of it, and the next down the aisle at the end of the car He is on the border between this life and some other deathIn his half sleep he though he was lying was like lying in a coffin We would probably nowadays recognize him as a victim of PTSD, but in this book, he just seems eternally lost He refuses to communicate with the overly talkative Mrs Hitchcock in the train and instead gets obsessed with the black porter who claims to be from Chicago but whom Hazel believes is from his own hometown Eastrod He had previously visited there and discovered that his house was destroyed, decayed, obliterated and his mother and any other family or earthly attachment simply gone He goes to the city which turns out to be a dead end small town called Taulkinham where he meets the other primary characters in the story the blind preacher with his 15y old daughter Sabbath, the listless and probably retarded if not insane Enoch, and the shyster Hoover Shoats He immediately sees through the blind preacher s lack of belief and starts the Church Without Christ after buying a rat colored car completely unfit for the road The atmosphere in the novel is that of the religiously obsessive South and the language reminds one of O Connor s primary influences William Faulkner Her unique style is quieter than Faulkner s, preferring to describe in detail the absurdities of life in the city and the completely erratic psyches of her characters The narrative frame shifts from Hazel to Sabbath to Enoch back and forth before settling on his forlorn landlady, Mrs Flood Ultimately, none of the characters really achieves salvation or relief in the bleakness of their lives One wonders however if Hazel gets some kind of enlightenment towards the end when he says,If there s no bottom in your eyes, they hold I think that Ms O Connor was trying to show that in the insane acts of Hazel which include murder and his ultimate mimicry of the blind preacher, that truth cannot be obtained by looking for it in others as both Enoch and Sabbath and Mrs Flood do with their devotion to Hazel at various times in the book , but can only come from oneself As Mrs Flood observes at the end of the book, She sat staring with her eyes shut, into his eyes, and felt as if she had finally got to the beginning of something she couldn t begin, and she saw him moving farther and farther away, father and farther into the darkness until he was the pin point of light I read this book in high school and was blown away having been myself raised in a Southern religious atmosphere to a degree, and found this second reading four decades later to be as illuminating and engrossing as I before O Connor sadly did not write very much, but what she did write contains a universe of sentiment and pain that is rarely evoked with such realism and as pitiless a gaze Highly recommended. 522 Wise Blood, Flannery O ConnorWise Blood is the first novel by American author Flannery O Connor, published in 1952 The novel was assembled from disparate stories first published in Mademoiselle, Sewanee Review and Partisan Review The first chapter is an expanded version of her Master s thesis, The Train , and other chapters are reworked versions of The Peeler, The Heart of the Park and Enoch and the Gorilla The novel concerns a returning World War II veteran who, haunted by a lifelong crisis of faith, resolves to form an anti religious ministry in an eccentric, fictionalized Southern city after finding his family homestead abandoned without a trace 1989 1367 236 20 1367. Certainly the Blue Velvet in the literary realm, Wise Blood has an OVERWHELMING SIMPLICITY that seems truly out of this world O Connor expertly places all these annoying wind up toys near each other see them bump and grind and sometimes line up in a maniacal precision that repeats and repeats and what we get is a very complex nightmare, almost hitting the true nerve of my personal champion of all literary categories Southern Goth It is true brethren to the Faulkner s masterpiece, As I Lay Dying a true mesh of the best of Pynchon the most iconographic that is , the silliest of Beckett, er, maybe Pinter, why not the most macabre of Hawthorne but a true original by All rights P.S The creepiness of the main, I would label, monolith that is, the shriveled man in the MVSEVM is in itself ingenious I totally head over heels love it Fresh from a stint in the army, Hazel Motes starts a religion out of spite and gets entangled with a preacher named Asa Hawks and his teenage daughter, Sabbath.I recently read the exquisite The Summer that Melted Everything and kept thinking of Flannery O Connor I already had this on my Kindle so I gave it a shot.Wise Blood is the tale of Hazel Motes and his crisis of faith Something happened during the war that shattered Hazel Motes childhood dream of being a preacher and now he s taking it out on the rest of the world While running around generally being an asshole, he encounters colorful characters like Enoch Emery, the boy with the Wise Blood of the title, Asa Hawks and his daughter, and Hoover Shoates, a con man who knows a good thing when he sees it.I d say Wise Blood was the Rise and Fall of Hazel Motes but there wasn t much of a rise Maybe The Continued Decline of Hazel Motes would be appropriate The book starts out bleak and just keeps getting bleaker However, there were some laughs despite the bleakness, many of them at Enoch Emery s expense.Flannery O Connor writes some powerful stuff Her writing reminds me of Jim Thompson s, whom she probably had angry sex with up against a dumpster behind a bar at some point Wise Blood s tale of religious obsession made me uncomfortable at times However, I didn t think Wise Blood was nearly as good as her short story collection A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories Her short stories were much focused and quicker to the punch Three out of five stars. A most challenging work Bold, weird, disturbing and potential injurious Not for everyone But if you dare, a compelling masterpiece. Hey, kids It s time for a game of Choose Your Own Adventure Southern Gothic Literary Analysis Edition Please select from the following options 1 You are a Christian bordering on Calvinist who wants metaphorical reassurance that you are a part of the spiritual elect, and you want a real martyr of a sinner to guide you through the steps to grace Hazel Motes returns from the war to find that he has no one, nothing, and nowhere to turn In defiance, he rejects the lord human nature, a necessary step and starts his own church in an attempt to persuade people that sin is natural, Jesus is a fictitious concept, and that attempting to achieve grace and redemption through the conscious rejection of sin is, basically, a fool s errand Of course, God has already selected Motes as a member of his posse, so he eventually cannot help but crawl toward the most savage acts of masochism and self deprivation in order to achieve a thumbs up from his creator Thank God for mental illness 2 You are an atheist who loves to explore the damaging effects that religion can have on society, particularly underprivileged, under educated, and otherwise vulnerable individuals Hazel Motes returns from the war to find that he has no one, nothing, and nowhere to turn In defiance, he rejects the lord finally and starts his own church in an attempt to explain to other brainwashed people that sin is natural, Jesus is a fictitious concept, and that attempting to achieve grace and redemption through the rejection of sin is, in fact, a fool s errand Of course, Motes has been programmed from an early age to believe that god has already selected him as a member of his posse, so he eventually foolishly, depressingly cannot help but crawl toward the most savage acts of masochism and self deprivation in order to achieve a thumbs up from his supposed creator Thank god for ignorance Sheesus.3 You are uncertain about religion, but love to read books with a creepy religious undertone, despicable characters, rotting things, decaying road signs, illness, degradation, spiritual defeat, handicaps, boils, suffering, old fashion poverty stricken whorishness and a general David Finchery lens coloring and dinginess to everything within a nightmare carnival setting Hazel Motes has a shit life He lives in some oddly eloquent alter ego of a Rob Zombie movie He turns to God and it works out Thank gawd for Flannery O Connor Side note This book is a ball crusher, and not for the faint of heart I mean, no matter how you spin it, it is BLEAK Don t read it while experimenting with different anti depression medications or anything You ve been warned Side side note Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O Connor should have made babies Lots of babies Side side side note This is an extremely stripped down description of what s going on in this book, and in that right it is a bit unsure of itself the review certainly not the book I fully acknowledge that I am not doing ole Flanny flan justice, and for that I m sorry I m on my break and out of time More later Oh Jesus I feel compelled to cry out, thus involuntarily showing my cultural heritage that comes out in everyday language despite growing up and living among atheists without any relation to the creation myths of Christianity This book is horrible, and very, very well written Describing the ugly reality of a young man, Hazel Motes, who is deeply tainted by the moral preaching of a church he tries to shake off, it offers a panorama of confused, scared, aggressive people They all try to make their own ideas valid by forcing them upon others, using the persuasive, abusive, violent vocabulary of missionary Christianity, as well as its notion that there is only one truth in the world, and they themselves are in possession of it and have every right to impose it on others and even commit crimes as long as they are within the realm of their conviction.The intention of the novel evades me Does the author want to show the hollow and and immoral essence of religion Or of atheism It is populated with people who are too narrow minded to see than two possibilities Church of Christ, or Church Without Christ In both scenarios, the definitions of sin, redemption, preaching and mission stay the same, as do the means to spread the Anti Church s messages Hazel Motes is convinced to be an atheist, but he in fact creates an exact mirror of the religion within which he was growing up Sadly, that means he is not free at all, but retains everything he rejects, in a negative affirmation.When catastrophe occurs, it leaves me sad, seeing an eternal vicious circle of angry, righteous people continuing to pester each other with Christianity s arrogant absolutism, or its antithesis In a way, it reminded me of Marilynne Robinson s Home, a novel written in beautiful prose, delivering realistic portraits of people who do not see that it is possible not only NOT to believe in Christianity s dogma, but also to be quite happy, and free of guilt outside its limits In Robinson s as in O Connor s world, you can be an atheist, but you are a distinctly CHRISTIAN atheist committing the SIN of NON BELIEF, and you stay within the boundaries of Christianity s ancient morality and mythical foundations There is an implication of ethical failure in atheism You are surely marked by hell, even if you do not believe in it In Home, the main character keeps apologising incessantly for not living up to the Christian values, and in Wise Blood , Hazel Motes lives Christianity by challenging its teachings, like a two year old doing exactly what mummy told him not to do.For me, it was hard to identify with that mindset, but I do acknowledge the irony and wit with which the author illustrated a quite common scenario within monolithic, monotheistic communities No real detachment is possible from a religion that has immersed itself in every single facet of daily life and even in the language used to describe feelings.I listened to an outstanding audio book version, and sometimes the aggressive shouting and yelling became almost unbearable, making the latent violence in the characters evident still than if I had read it silently, skimming through the rants.As for the comical effects I could not enjoy them, having seen too much demagoguery and cheap propaganda work out beautifully in the past couple of years Too dangerous at the moment to be funny Maybe I will change my mind about that.
Flannery O Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925 When she died at the age of thirty nine, America lost one of its most gifted writers at the height of her powers O Connor wrote two novels, Wise Blood 1952 and The Violent Bear It Away 1960 , and two story collections, A Good Man Is Hard to Find 1955 and Everything That Rises Must Converge 1964 Her Complete Stories, published posth
- 256 pages
- Wise Blood
- Flannery O'Connor
- 12 June 2019 Flannery O'Connor