Wise Blood Chapter 7 Summary
by Flannery O’Connor

Start Your Free Trial

Download Wise Blood Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Chapter 7 Summary

After Motes picks up his car the next day, he drives into the country to see how well it has been repaired; suddenly he hears someone in the back seat clearing her throat. It is Hawks’ daughter, wearing dandelions in her hair and red lipstick. At first he is angry with her for hiding in his car, but then he remembers he intends to seduce her and manages the semblance of a smile.

She climbs into the front seat, “one thin black-stockinged leg” at a time, and tells him her name is Sabbath Lily Hawks. Her mother named her that, she explains, because she was born on the Sabbath, but her mother rolled over and died before her daughter could even see her. All the pleasure of his repaired Essex and an afternoon drive leaves Motes as Sabbath continues her story. She tells him her parents were not married; Motes wonders how a preacher who blinded himself for Jesus could have had a "bastard" child. For the first time, Motes looks at the girl with some interest.

Sabbath tells him since she is already eternally banned from heaven, she is willing to do things with boys that a redeemed girl would never do. Motes does not seem to hear her, still consumed with thoughts of a preacher who loved Jesus enough to blind himself but still fathered an illegitimate child. She tells Motes her father was different when he was younger. He kicks her leg away from him.

Ahead of them is a side road, and she encourages him to take it; as he does, he asks what changed her father. In her quest to seduce him, Sabbath suggests they get out of the car and sit under a tree so that they can talk. Motes complies. As he continues questioning her, Sabbath takes off her shoes and stockings. Motes thinks sitting under a tree might be conducive to seducing the girl, but he is in no hurry because of her innocence. He tells her that in his church, the Church Without Christ, a “bastard” is no different from anyone else because there is no such thing as sin.

The girl lies provocatively in front of Motes, recounting an awful story about a child nobody wanted who eventually caused the woman who abused him to hang herself in a well. She wonders if Motes thinks she looks fifteen and tells him to lie down and rest. When he does, putting his hat over his eyes, she crawls over to him and begins to tease, saying it does not matter how little he likes her. Suddenly Motes jumps up, wanting only to get back to his car, afraid someone might steal it in this deserted place; the girl tries to play a hide-and-seek game with him behind the trees.

The car will not start. Motes panics and turns on Sabbath, demanding to know what she has...

(The entire section is 741 words.)