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Wise Blood


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#1 Mark

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 02:00 PM

If everyone is still up for it, I'd like to kick off the Wise Blood discussion as our next book club discussion. I've got to pick up my copy from the library, but it's a fairly quick read.

I've been around here long enough to know how to start a "featured discussion" topic ... but I don't. Alan? blush.gif

EDIT: Duh, it just occurred to me that I can go into the Featured Discussions thread and start one, right?

Edited by Mark, 27 May 2005 - 02:01 PM.


#2 Diane

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 02:15 PM

Ready when you are! I can start reading this weekend.

#3 Christian

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 02:25 PM

I read a few pages Wednesday night. It's due back in about a week, and I'll have other reading to do in the meantime, but I'm hoping somehow to squeeze in Wise Blood. Those first few pages have me hooked.

#4 Crow

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 02:53 PM

I'll see if I can get a copy from the library this weekend.

#5 Ann D.

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 04:52 PM

I think I bought it a few weeks ago. But it's buried under a pile of papers somewhere. I'll see if I can dig it out and give it a read.

#6 baxter

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 05:48 PM

I will try to read it this week-end in between the bbqs.

#7 anglicanbeachparty

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 05:55 PM

QUOTE(Mark @ May 27 2005, 03:00 PM)
If everyone is still up for it, I'd like to kick off the Wise Blood discussion as our next book club discussion.

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I'm new here, so I don't quite know how this works ... you all read the same book and then discuss it? Anyhow, I have a bit of a head start, as I've read Wise Blood 3 or 4 times. I've found nothing else like it.


#8 gigi

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 06:02 PM

I've been 3/4 of the way through this for about 2 months now. I left the last quarter because I kept getting so pissed off with the damn thing, that I thought it only be fair to simmer down a bit. Which isn't to say the woman isn't a talented writer... just... ok, ok, I'll finish it off and come back with something.

#9 Mark

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Posted 29 May 2005 - 10:22 PM

QUOTE(anglicanbeachparty @ May 27 2005, 05:55 PM)
I'm new here, so I don't quite know how this works ... you all read the same book and then discuss it? 

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Yup, that's all there is to it. We started a few months ago with A Hearbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, which which we split into chapter discussions that went pretty well. Our second book, Shusaku Endo's Silence, never really took fire ... silence became the theme of the discussion, unfortunately.

QUOTE(gigi @ May 27 2005, 06:02 PM)
I've been 3/4 of the way through this for about 2 months now.  I left the last quarter because I kept getting so pissed off with the damn thing, that I thought it only be fair to simmer down a bit.  Which isn't to say the woman isn't a talented writer... just... ok, ok, I'll finish it off and come back with something.

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This oughtta be an interesting discussion. Can't wait to hear what has you all fired up, gigi. biggrin.gif


#10 Diane

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 10:34 AM

QUOTE(gigi @ May 27 2005, 06:02 PM)
I've been 3/4 of the way through this for about 2 months now.  I left the last quarter because I kept getting so pissed off with the damn thing, that I thought it only be fair to simmer down a bit. 

View Post



Uh-oh. unsure.gif I'm really not all that surprised, though. There's plenty in there to make your blood boil. I'd be shocked if it got no reaction at all.

Yep, should be a good discussion.

#11 Brookd.

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 02:04 PM

so...um... when does the actual discussion take place?
I'm looking forward to hearing what got gigi all pissed off!
to me, O'Conner creates in this story an atheist character with real integrity and follows his path to it's logical conclusion. she doesn't villify him, as so many christian authors might, but gives him the true heart and mind of a seeker, with honesty and integrity, one who puts his life on the line for what he believes (or doesn't believe). He's not choosing disbelief as a cop-out from responsibility.

that's all I'll say for now...

#12 Diane

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 02:16 PM

How are we doing the discussion this time? The whole book at once? By chapter? I've read it before, but I'm still in the process of rereading.

Edited by Diane, 01 June 2005 - 02:21 PM.


#13 Christian

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 11:24 AM

I'm 55 pages into it, but I can't figure out what the heck is going on.

Some advice: Don't read 10 pages, then put the book down for days, then read another 5 pages, etc.

My copy is due back today, but I'll grab another copy by tomorrow at the latest.

#14 Diane

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 11:35 AM

Mark and I have chatted about this, and even though neither one of us has finished reading, we've decided to go ahead and open the discussion so that those who are ready can post their initial thoughts. I guess we're basing this format on what the Film Club has done. Anybody who has anything to say can go ahead and say it while the rest of us read. Once we have some thoughts down, we'll get into a deeper discussion, questions, etc.

Sound good? I guess we should assume this thread will be full of heavy spoilers, though feel free to black out or tag your posts if you want.

Y'all can let me know if you have any other ideas about how to approach this.


#15 Diane

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 12:35 PM

*crickets chirping*

Has no one finished reading this? (I admit that I haven't, so that's not an accusation.) Maybe it's time to rethink this a bit. I'm going to start out by posting O'Connor's intro that she wrote for the book's 10th anniversary (1962). I'm just really fond of it, and there's quite a bit to think about in it. (BTW, I hope I'm not violating any forum copyright rules here. I checked the other book club discussions and saw excerpts, so....)

QUOTE
Wise Blood has reached the age of ten and is still alive. My critical powers are just sufficient to determine this, and I am gratified to be able to say it. The book was written with zest and, if possible, it should be read that way. It is a comic novel about a Christian malgré lui, and as such, very serious, for all comic novels that are any good must be about matters of life and death. Wise Blood was written by an author congenitally innocent of theory, but one with certain preoccupations. That belief in Christ is to some a matter of life and death has been a stumbling block for some readers who would prefer to think it a matter of no great consequence. For them, Hazel Motes's integrity lies in his trying with such vigor to get rid of the ragged figure who moves from tree to tree in the back of his mind. For the author, Hazel's integrity lies in his not being able to do so. Does one's integrity ever lie in what he is not able to do? I think that usually it does, for free will does not mean one will, but many wills conflicting in one man. Freedom cannot be conceived simply. It is a mystery and one which a novel, even a comic novel, can only be asked to deepen.


If memory serves, malgré lui means "in spite of himself." Interesting, no? Another thing that strikes me is O'Connor's discussion of how some view Haze's integrity verses how she views it. (From what I've heard, I believe the film version took the former angle, sadly.)

Edited by Diane, 09 June 2005 - 12:39 PM.


#16 Christian

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 12:43 PM

It's a comic novel? Geez. I've been misreading it!

Thanks for posting that, Diane. I've checked out the book again, although I could only get my hands on a version of Wise Blood included in a book called Three by O'Connor or something like that, featuring three of her novels. So I've got to figure out where I was in the other edition and ... and ... well, in light of this revelation about the novel's comic intentions, maybe I should just start again.

#17 Diane

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 12:46 PM

Hey, if anybody wants to break this down to a chapter-by-chapter discussion, or several chapters at a time, let me know. That might spur some discussion....

Yeah, the lady had one strange sense of humor. I'm sure I wasn't thinking "COMEDY!" the first time I read it. Not overall, anyway. But like she said, "matters of life and death...."

Edited by Diane, 09 June 2005 - 01:08 PM.


#18 Darren H

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 01:17 PM

I'm 9 days away from vacation -- 9 MORE DAYS! -- and Wise Blood will be near the top of the stack of fun reads I'm taking with me to the beach. I haven't read this since a sophomore-level survey course. Wow, that was, like, 13 years ago. I'm really looking forward to it.

#19 Diane

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 04:02 PM

Yay! I'm glad you're in, Darren. Heh, "fun reads I'm taking with me to the beach...." We're really messing with the way Christian views this book, aren't we? wink.gif

Christian, you mentioned starting over. I really need to go back and revisit some scenes and take more notes. I started off so well.... Guess you're inspiring me to be more diligent.

#20 Mark

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 04:14 PM

QUOTE(Christian @ Jun 9 2005, 12:43 PM)
It's a comic novel? Geez. I've been misreading it!

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Heh heh ... I read it in college and had no idea it was supposed to be comic .... went back to it a few years later and had a completely different take on it. She's adept at social satire. The chapter 1 scene on the train, with such vivid characterizations (the woman with the "poisonous Eastern accent" for example) is some priceless stuff.