O’connor’s Wise Blood I am not sure how to react to the novel after reading it. It has been a very confusing novel; I am not quite sure what it is saying about religion. Initially I thought that it was supporting an anti-religious aspect of life. However, the end of the novel presented a twist though the eyes of Mrs. Flood, which made me change my initial thoughts about it, turning it into a novel that seemed to say, this is what happens if you do not believe in Christianity. The novel also presented the atmosphere of the American City as a trap; an inescapable place that drains all morals, leaving one surround by a society of loneliness.
The novel consisted of two different stories, one about Hazel Motes and one about Enoch Emery. Both stories, in my eyes, were quite different. The story involving Hazel Motes involved something that he had been struggling with for most of his life – purity, religion, and guilt, which I believe, was brought about by his mother. This information is given when he is in bed with Mrs. Watts and recalls a memory of when his mother told him that Jesus died to redeem him. Motes’s response to this was, I never ast him. However, even after his beating, Motes feels that he must repent more by walking a mile with stones in his shoes, thinking that there will be a sign from Him.
Perhaps it was this incident that led to his disbelief, waiting for a sign that never came. His mother seems to be someone that he both cherishes and hates. The bible and the pair of glasses show this. He feels that he must carry both her Bible and her pair of glasses around with him, although he disbelieves everything that she believed in. Although he says that he is keeping the bible because it reminds him of home and the glasses incase he ever looses his vision, I feel that he is keeping them to hold on to a piece of his mother; a piece of Jesus. The last chapter helped me to form a sort of understanding.
I felt that I could relate to Mrs. Flood. I felt like the questions that she kept raising to and about Motes were questions that I would have been raising. For the most part, they were many of the questions that I kept raising though out the novel. There was one question in particular that she raised that has kept me wondering if Motes ever received his redemption.
How would he know if time was going backward or forward or if he was going with it? It made me wonder if he blinded himself as a form of repentance. I thought that maybe he stopped preaching and was torturing himself for Jesus, but then when Mrs. Flood asks him about his preaching he says, If you believed in Jesus, you wouldn’t be so good. If he were trying to repent, why would he say that? The story about Enoch Emery seemed to be a whole different story all together. His story seemed to be one about a boy who had been rejected all of his life, cast into a city that trapped and destroyed him. In a strange way, the city that he was forced to live in turned him, his personality and his appearance (gorilla suit), into an animal.
The animal that he became was similar to the animals that he had to visit everyday; the animals that he hated. Chapter 12 presents a descriptive image of what the American City had done to Enoch Emery. He had the sense that he was setting off to get some honor, but he was very nervous, as if he were afraid he might have to snatch it instead of receive it. This is exactly what became of Enoch Emery; he became an animal that had to snatch everything that came to him in a city were people ain’t friendly. Both Motes and Emery were young men looking for acceptance and piece of mind in a city filled with corruption, whoring, false preaching, and very few morals.
They were outsiders, driven to insanity by a world that did not accept them or their beliefs. Both had struggled with their problems though out their lives, only to be pushed to their limits in the end. O’Connor’s Wise Blood seemed to have many similarities and many differences to Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. All three novels offer the world, during this time period, as a place of chaos, lacking moral and religious thoughts and actions. These three novels seem to offer life as an inescapable trap. However, the argument can be made that in O’Connor’s Wise Blood, Motes does find his own personal salvation at the end of the novel.
Motes leaves on his own to follow his personal path, which seems to be some sort of repentance. After his death, Motes ultimately becomes the pin point of light, suggesting that he has been redeemed. Yet, it is my personal opinion that Motes does not find religious salvation at the end of the novel. Motes repents for something that he does not believe in, for his views regarding Jesus and Christianity doe not change at the end of the novel, supporting the fact that all three novels offer the same view of the world. English Essays.