Enoch’s Blood Acts Up

Chapters Three – Five

Hazel’s negotiations to buy a car have an easygoing humour, and we see more of his stubbornness, but I still don’t feel that I’m getting to know him.   As he struggles to drive the roads of the town and on into the country, it seems that the landscape is without any distinguishing features, and Hazel doesn’t really know what he wants to do, until he remembers Enoch.

What is all this about Enoch’s blood?  We’re told he “had wise blood like his daddy”,  his blood gives him knowledge that something is going to happen, and he uses the messages of his blood to direct him.  Okay, let’s think about this as a symbol.  Blood can symbolize life or life force;  blood is essential to the functioning of the body; the blood of Jesus is redemptive.  (Jesus and redemption figure importantly in Hazel Motes’ preaching and his conversations.)  So how are we to take the “wise blood” of Enoch?  And what does it mean that, at the end of Chapter Five, he hears his “secret blood” beating in the center of the city?

In considering the book so far, I have to conclude that the author has a purpose in presenting to the reader such unattractive characters, such grotesques.  My reaction has been, “I don’t know anyone like this, nor do I want to. ”  But perhaps O’Connor is saying, in effect, “Push past those feelings and look at these people, consider them as possibly another level, another side of yourself.  What if?  What if you acted like this, said these things?  Are you really so different?”


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