Religious Symbolism In Wise Blood

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to change their behaviors is conveyed through the Misfit, who comments “Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead… and He shouldn’t have done it… and if He didn’t, then it’s nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can-by killing somebody or burning down this house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness” (O’Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” 152). In every situation, whether it be in the contemporary world or prior, there will always be some people who refuse to change for the sake of continuing to commit injustices. The Misfit suggests that choosing not to believe in a God who raises people from the dead and gives the second chances makes it possible for people to enjoy …show more content…
Hazel Motes, a grotesque character warped by his experience in World War II, is a noticeable example because his name not only reflects his character, but it also contributes a religious context to the story. The name Motes is an allusion to the biblical verse that condemns judging others for the mote in their eye when there is a beam in your own (Matthew 7:3). This biblical reference not only touches on the issue of judgement, but it demonstrates the struggle with hypocrisy. Hazel constantly points out the flaws of the people around him. He is a nihilist, and he condemns society for having a traditional, religious viewpoint. When he meets Asa Hawks, a conman posing as a blind preacher, Hazel warns the people against believing in the Jesus that Hawks is preaching about. He, in comparison, argues that the people are clean and that Jesus did not die for them. He backs up his argument with the statement “don’t I know what exists and what don’t… don’t I have eyes in my head? Am I a blind man?” (O’Connor, Wise Blood, 51). Hazel uses his vision to support his claim that he is preaching the real truth of the new church without Christ. However, Hazel ignores his own faults when speaking out against the faults of others, including those of Asa Hawks. He condemns the people for believing in something, but he believes that blasphemy is the answer to salvation, which contradicts his teachings. Hazel …show more content…
In Wise Blood, O’Connor uses vision as a central motif and presents several images of vision through the grotesque main character, Hazel Motes. Hazel struggles with judgement, hypocrisy, repentance and salvation throughout the novel. He consistently makes judgements towards the institution of religion and those who claim to believe in Jesus. However, these judgements are often inaccurate because he has trouble seeing the whole truth even though it is right in front of him. In fact, Hazel’s name is shortened to Haze in the novel, which is a symbol of his blurred understanding of the truth. Nevertheless, despite Hazel’s shortcomings, the significance of O’Connor’s style of grotesque is that “O’Connor shows some of her grotesque characters using their deformities to bring about their redemption” (Ragen 1). While Hazel is spiritually blind for the better part of the novel, his blindness increases in significance when the patrolman in the novel pushes Hazel’s Essex over the cliff. This visual image is significant because it describes the moment that Hazel is finally able to see the whole picture and the error of his own ways. He had looked for a way to be freed from his guilt, but before this moment, he thought that blasphemy was the way to salvation. However, after the car is destroyed, Hazel has a

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