Hazel Motes, the protagonist, the twenty-two-year-old grandson of a backwoods preacher. He is driven to find Christ in the city. Hazel tested his grandfather’s religion in the Army and goes to the city of Taulkinham to test that religion again. He both distrusts and is haunted by it. Everything about Hazel, from his black hat to the look in his eyes, identifies him as a preacher to those who see him, but he devotes much of his stay in the city to trying to escape his religious destiny. Hazel is a loner whose only human contacts emerge from his attempts to escape Christ. He needs no friends (even though Enoch Emery tries to establish a friendship with him) or sexual relationships (although Sabbath Lily tries to seduce him). As a religious man who denies religion, he is a misfit in a secular world.
Enoch Emery, a lonely young man who becomes Hazel Motes’s “prophet.” From his early life with a father who later abandoned him and through the rest of his eighteen years, Enoch has found little love in his world. Even at the Rodemill Boys’ Bible Academy, Enoch was unable to find a friend. He seeks friendship with Hazel, seeing in him a loner like himself. Perhaps Enoch’s “wise blood” causes him to sense Hazel’s determination to discover real truths about the human condition. Enoch spends his time working at the zoo (he hates the animals) and secretly watching the women at the public...
(The entire section is 542 words.)