Literary Analysis of Wise Blood
Analysis of Wise Blood “God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall never die, but have eternal life. ” (Bible) The redemption of man through Christ is a theme that can be seen across the entire world. In Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, the elements of redemption and Christianity are used to portray the moral decay of our society, and the influence of the devil in our everyday lives.
The characters in the novel are used to show this societal shift from good to evil as the story goes on. O’Connor uses a purposefully non-relatable main character to give objectivity to the reader, and allow the themes to be seen through contrast rather than experience. In Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor uses juxtaposition and specific character selection to explore the themes of American Romanticism that include redemption, isolation, and religion.
The main character in the story is a man named Hazel Motes, who has recently come back from the war, scarred with the images of brutality and death. During his service in the Army, he decides that with all the death and destruction that surrounds him, there must be no such thing as sin, and certainly no God. Upon his arrival back in his hometown, he finds his old house deserted, without a trace. In the event of his homelessness and desperation, he travels to Taulkenham, where his main purpose is to prove that religion does not exist.
With this goal in mind, he decides to start a new “religion”, with the help of his new friends, called “the Church without Christ”, whose main objective is to fervently believe and preach that there is no God. This idea that there is no God, and that all consequences that occur are a direct result of that belief is a widely used theme in American Romanticism. Flannery uses this theme to show the simplicity of evil and ease of turning away from God in hard times. The character that she develops as Hazel Motes is the opposite of connectable, but on purpose.
The use of this grotesque character allows the reader to take a step back, and read the story from the perspective of the critic, not the relator. With this point of view, the reader can more easily choose what he or she thinks is right and wrong, no matter what the character thinks and says in the story. The objectivity of the character Hazel Motes is done with purpose by O’Connor to allow the reader to juxtapose their own ideals and thoughts to the character more clearly and consciously.