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Book Report: Wise Blood

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  1. Introduction
  2. The role played by suffering
  3. Asa and Lily Hawks characters dealing with suffering
  4. The major religious symbols
  5. Conclusion

The Flannery O'Connor novel, Wise Blood, is a tragic story set in the declining south. The characters of the novel, the main character, Hazel Motes, in particular, struggle with their religious identity and suffering throughout the course of the plot. What follows here is a report on the book's central themes in regards to religious ideas.

[...] For example, he was often forced to walk with rocks in his shoes as penance, a motif that is later recreated in the story. Hazel also experienced a feeling of inadequacy as a child when his preacher grandfather would use him as an example in his sermons of a sinner. Through these painful childhood memories, O'Connor reveal Hazel Motes as a Christ figure that is also haunted by the original Christ. Asa and Lily Hawks are also characters that deal with suffering, although they serve other purposes in the novel as well. [...]

[...] However, Hazel cannot stand the thought of being with Lily like she wants him, as a permanent fixture in her life. He continues to push her away, and this also contributes to his internal suffering. The setting of the American south is also a culture of suffering. O'Connor portrays the south as having Christianity hanging over the heads of the southerners in the novel. The endless parade of preachers like Hazel, Asa Hawks, and the man who wanted to make money with the Church of Christ without Christ, never seem to faze the townspeople. [...]

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