Mark’s #44 – Wise Blood by Flannery O’Conner

Wise Blood is one of those books that gets English teachers tingly all over.  It’s a book full of imagery, and metaphors, and symbolism, and foreshadowing, and parallels… you name it. But, like any good book your English teacher tried to get you to read, you probably won’t understand or see most any of those things on your own – or at least this was my experience.  For this reason, I’m looking forward to our monthly Apologia book discussion tomorrow night to discuss and unpack these things which, to my underdeveloped mind, I can sense that they are all there under the surface just waiting to blossom for my understanding and appreciation… we’ll see.  In the meantime, I have been left to scratch my head and often say to myself (and others), “I don’t get it.”

Wise Blood is novel which follows the character Hazel Motes as he tries hard to reject the God of the Bible and flee his own conscience through a pursuit of sin and blasphemy of God.   After serving in the war (probably the Korean war or WWII), Hazel Motes has lost his faith in God… or rather, Hazel Motes seems to be trying hard to lose his faith in God – yet he seems to remain a tormented soul, who is ultimately unsatisfied by his pursuit of nihilism.

Along his journey, all sorts of interesting characters with their own disfunction’s and bizarre personalities impose on Motes and his quest.  Each one having their own literary symbols and functions I’m sure (but can’t quite place them yet).

Perhaps tomorrow after our discussion I’ll update my review with some of the keen literary and philosophical insights… but I’ll probably just let you read Ron Coia’s review since he is an english teacher, since he also happens to be the one selected this book and who will lead the discussion.

In the meantime, I found this little nugget out there on someone else’s blog in which the Sadie, the blog author, put together a wish list with Wise Blood a part of it:  “I want to own this book so I can read it every year and maybe when I’m 60 I’ll get the whole thing.” – Good luck Sadie, I doubt you’ll get there.

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