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Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor
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Author:  p.falk [ Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

I've about 30 pages left in this book. I kind of like. One thing, every character in the book is a bit grating. I can't think of a single character that I liked. Enoch Emery has moments of this childlike innocence and simplicity that makes you feel for him.
But there isn't a single character that doesn't seem full-on disgusting or crass.

The book is a bit heady. I know things are supposed to represent other things.... but I'm not always able to make those connections.
I'm pretty certain that so far Hazel Motes is a nihilistic atheist type; who struggles mightily to keep Jesus way out of his mind.
There was one interesting scene in the book where Hazel finally gets a follower who is actually a much better speaker than Motes himself.
This other guy (Onnie Jay Holy) interrupts Motes speaking with his own... saying how Motes is a true prophet and how his teachings have changed his life (which wasn't true). Onnie starts saying something tantamount to "Truth is what matters to you. Your truth doesn't have to be the next guy's truth.... you can accept what you want to be true, while he accepts what he wants to be true. Interpret the Bible your own way. and, if you don't think Jesus is true... then that's fine too."

Onnie seemed to be representing Relativism (or, and I might be digging: Protestantism.... or Evangelicalism).

Motes interrupts him to say "the only truth is that there is NO truth!". His nihilism trumping Onnie's relativism. And that scene ends with him chasing Onnie off.


Motes annoyance or anger with Jesus (and Christianity) seems to be his inability to understand how there could have been a Fall. I could be waaaaaaaaay off here. There was a scene were Motes 'hooks up' with a, ahem, lady of loose morals. And a very large one at that (the largeness of women in the book seems to be a theme: whether tall or fat).
Later Motes is talking to someone about the prostitute that he's been with and Motes states that it wasn't sleeping with a prostitute that is the big sin, "the bigger sin came way before doing that" (paraphrased). Even earlier in the book Motes, as a child, seems confused as to how he can be with sin (original sin) just being a kid.

Anyway....
Has anyone read this? Any views on the book that you have??

Author:  gherkin [ Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

Yes, read it, loved it. I don't like to look for symbolic meanings in books, generally speaking. I have no theories about Wise Blood that come to mind. Flannery O'Connor is a treasure.

Author:  p.falk [ Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

I just wasted an hour and a half listening to Yale professor Amy Hungerford miss the point on Wise Blood.
I've been looking all around for expositions to read or listen to and hers kept popping up.
Starts off good enough but then it unravels into what I can only call social justice concerns that seem very cut off from O'Connor's Catholicism. Hungerford even says at the end of the first video that she's going to offer an interpretation different from the more typical "religious" one.
Then it boils down to body image issues women have and police brutality.

Frustrating.

This is a problem with college literature courses: professors who insist on shoehorning the views of authors into their own myopic worldview.

Author:  gherkin [ Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

There's no truth, just power relations. When that's your guiding principle (if that term can be used in connection with such people), where your "interpretation" goes surely won't be guided by the text.

Author:  gherkin [ Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

But I'd still say that you shouldn't think too hard about it. It's a stunning story. Let it be.

Read it again next year.

Author:  p.falk [ Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

Good advice.

I do spend a lot of time trying to figure out the 'hidden meanings'....which can make reading a bit too laborious.
I blame Gene Wolfe's novels!!! :)

Just kidding, I love Wolfe's layers.

Author:  GKC [ Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

p.falk wrote:
Good advice.

I do spend a lot of time trying to figure out the 'hidden meanings'....which can make reading a bit too laborious.
I blame Gene Wolfe's novels!!! :)

Just kidding, I love Wolfe's layers.


Me too.

Author:  p.falk [ Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

Ah, GKC, I was thinking about you as I was reading Wolfe's "The Land Across".
Have you read that one?
I need to re-read it, because I have the feeling that *spoilers below!!!*


Deleted Spoilers

Author:  GKC [ Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

p.falk wrote:
Ah, GKC, I was thinking about you as I was reading Wolfe's "The Land Across".
Have you read that one?
I need to re-read it, because I have the feeling that *spoilers below!!!*


Ahem..... That Grafton is actually the one referred to as "the undead dragon", opposed to it being the Bishop who jumps over the ledge.



I stopped reading this at the spoilers. I have only read about 20 pages of this, and then got distracted by something shiny. I'll have to get back to it, after Easter.

But, as we all know, rereading Gene is the only way.

Author:  p.falk [ Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

Hi GKC,

I just deleted the spoilers.
When you finish the book would you mind chatting with me about it?
I'd really like to hear your views on some things in it.

Author:  GKC [ Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

p.falk wrote:
Hi GKC,

I just deleted the spoilers.
When you finish the book would you mind chatting with me about it?
I'd really like to hear your views on some things in it.



I'll probably have to reread it.

First I'll have to find it.

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