In chapter 10, the narration says that Hazel “looked like he was going to sit there until he died.” Assess what is happening to Hazel in this chapter.
Discuss the sky imagery that appears in chapter 11. How do you assess the significance of this imagery?
Discuss the struggles of Enoch in chapters 11 and 12. What’s happening to him? Can you draw any parallels between him and Hazel?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Flannery O'Connor's first novel, Wise Blood (published in 1952), is a particularly emotive novel. It follows Hazel Motes, a war veteran and atheist who vows to preach and spread his anti-religion to the world. In chapter 10, Hazel has a confrontation with Onnie Jay Holy, which he sets up as a ruse to mock and spite Hazel. Salt is added to Hazel's wound when a passerby mistakes them for twins. At the end of chapter 10, a disenchanted Hazel returns to find Sabbath Lily Hawks, daughter of preacher Asa Hawks, on his bed. Sabbath propositions and seduces Hazel.

In chapter 11, Enoch Emery, who is inexplicably attracted to Hazel and his religion, makes his way to Hazel's apartment. It was storming out, and "large, putty-colored drops began to splatter on the pavement and there was an ugly growl in the sky behind him." The way in which Flannery O'Connor describes the rain is reminiscent of blood. This foreshadows Enoch's altercation with a man in costume as a gorilla, whom he will kill.

When Enoch meets a circus gorilla, Gonga (touted as "Giant Jungle Monarch and a Great Star"), Enoch (who works as a zookeeper) is disabused to find that the gorilla is in fact a disgruntled man who tells him to "go to hell." He thereupon pursues and kills the man and steals his gorilla costume. This moment of anagnorisis for Enoch is paralleled by Hazel's discovery that Sabbath is not innocent and pure, nor is her father actually blind.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial