Wise Blood Essay

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A Car and A Church Flannery O’ Connor’s novel Wise Blood (1952) is the story of a very confused man named Hazel Motes who lives in Taulkinham, Tennessee. Hazel has recently been let go from the military due to his injuries. During Hazel’s time spent in the military, he is told that he does not have a soul and believes this assumption. His grandfather was a preacher who taught Christianity from the hood of his car and also traveled. Hazel later creates his own church after he witnessed a blind man preaching about Christianity in the streets. At first, Hazel believes the preacher is sincere but later realizes the man is not actually blind but preaches for money. Hazel names his church the Church Without Christ. Ultimately, a person does not have to be clean in order to be saved at his church. Hazel buys a car, the Essex, to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and preach from the hood of it. Hazel and his grandfather believed two different things. Hazel’s grandfather preached about Christianity, while Hazel preached about there being a new Jesus to appear and reveal his face. Essentially Hazel’s car and his church, the Church Without Christ, both symbolize the soul in a state of sin, and Hazel is the example of a person whose life gets taken over by sin. When Hazel buys the Essex, it is in very bad shape but somehow, he still believes it is unstoppable. The Essex represents his soul in a state of sin. Hazel first sees the car when he appears at “Slade’s for the Latest”, and he knows this is the right car. The car catches his sight from the back of the parking lot. He first notices the conditions of the car: “It was a high rat-colored machine with large thin wheels and bulging headlights, when he got up to it, he saw that one door was tied on with rope and that it had an oval window in the back. This was the car for Hazel” (69). Hazel does not have a license

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