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Wise Blood


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#41 Diane

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 12:59 PM

OK, folks, I'd like to hear your opinons on Enoch Emery, who remains one of O'Connor's funniest and strangest characters. Why do you think O'Connor titled the novel as she did (Enoch always claims he has "wise blood")? Do you think his name holds any particular meaning (I'm thinking of Enoch of the Bible)? What do you make of his ritualistic practices? The way "his blood communicates with itself"? The fact that he brings about an event that shows Haze exactly what he's reducing mankind to? Is he crazy? Or is he being used by God for a purpose? (Heh, he might be both.) What are we to make of his ending, as he
Spoiler
? Is he, as one commentator has noted,
Spoiler
?

Yep, Enoch's always intrigued me.

#42 Doug C

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 02:32 PM

I don't know if it's appropriate to ask this question here, but has anyone seen John Huston's film adaptation of this with Brad Dourif (Wormtongue in LoTR)? It's a very striking film I own on VHS and would be willing to loan out to anyone who's interested. If I wasn't so busy and with Flickerings coming up, I'd try to read the novel and join the discussion, but it's going to have to wait a bit.


#43 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 02:39 PM

Link to the thread on the film, which was written by Benedict Fitzgerald, who also co-wrote The Passion of the Christ.

#44 anglicanbeachparty

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 07:03 AM

QUOTE(Diane @ Jun 23 2005, 01:59 PM)
OK, folks, I'd like to hear your opinons on Enoch Emery, who remains one of O'Connor's funniest and strangest characters. Why do you think O'Connor titled the novel as she did (Enoch always claims he has "wise blood")? Do you think his name holds any particular meaning (I'm thinking of Enoch of the Bible)? What do you make of his ritualistic practices? The way "his blood communicates with itself"? The fact that he brings about an event that shows Haze exactly what he's reducing mankind to? Is he crazy? Or is he being used by God for a purpose? (Heh, he might be both.) What are we to make of his ending, as he
Spoiler
? Is he, as one commentator has noted,
Spoiler
?

Yep, Enoch's always intrigued me.

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Diane,

Thanks for some very good and probing questions about Enoch Emery. I may be too influenced by multiple viewings of the film version, but my initial reaction was always to identify somewhat with Enoch Emery. I took seriously his quasi-prophetic gift of "wise blood" just as one is forced, I think, to take seriously the "mark" which "some preacher" (his grandfather) put upon Hazel.

It shocked me the first time I read something by Flannery herself (sorry, I don't have the reference) on the subject of Enoch Emery -- she was quite harsh in her critique of him. It took me aback. She apparently wasn't trying to instill him with any redeeming features at all. Enoch's main theme seems to be the loneliness and isolation of mankind.
Spoiler


Yet, Enoch is a prophet (in my view) -- he does have wise blood. I think you are right to say that he is both "crazy" and he is being used by God for a purpose - he is a messenger of prophetic warning to Hazel. An example:
Spoiler
Enoch seems to be there as a mirror in which Haze can (always against Haze's own will) see himself. Another such prophetic character is Solace Layfield,
Spoiler


#45 Diane

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 04:16 PM

QUOTE(anglicanbeachparty @ Jun 24 2005, 07:03 AM)
An example: 
Spoiler
 

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Oh, I'm glad you brought that up! I'd forgotten that.

Doug, feel free to join in late if/when you get a chance. I'd love to get your thoughts. I think Darren's still planning to jump in sometime in the future, too.

#46 gigi

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 05:53 PM

I found him somewhat perplexing to say the least. I'd go with O'Connor's analysis, though, no redeeming features. Perhaps his dog-like loyalty that doesn't really do him any credit anyway.

Now that you mention it, the passages that focussed on him particularly riled me. Perhaps it's because O'Connor recreates that logic in insanity so well. He honestly reminded me of a lot of the residents in the mental health charity I used to work at. People that were never afforded a chance and who live on the hazy border that most of us carry on our day to day lives in. They always demonstrated the naive belief in their ideas & were unable to relate them in away way to the world as it actually worked, as does Enoch.

Still. I preferred the book before he came in. There's almost a quality of Steinbeck to the first few chapters.

As for 'wise blood', it always made me think of Haze's grandfather. That idea of turning from what we are, what our past is, finding your own path within the weight of responsibility placed upon you by your forefathers.

#47 Doug C

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 07:06 PM


Thanks, Diane. I'll plan to join the conversation in a couple weeks...hope that won't be too late.

#48 anglicanbeachparty

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 09:38 PM

The Shape of the Liturgy in The Heart of the Park

Chapter 5 of Wise Blood is lifted directly from one of Flannery O'Connor's short stories: The Heart of the Park. I believe this little gem of a chapter is able to stand on its own, and for one simple reason: Enoch Emery's actions throughout this chapter mimic the participation of faithful Christians in the traditional Liturgy (Mass).

It is a worthwhile exercise (and one which admittedly easier for Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and Anglicans than for most Protestants) to go through Chapter 5 and see how many similarities can be picked out between Enoch's "daily office" of the Park, and the Holy Communion service in the Christian church. Throughout the chapter, Enoch is telling Hazel what we "have to" do next. Even though he rushes some portions of his usual liturgy, Enoch is not able to take Hazel directly to the MVSEVM --
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And while Enoch can't make himself totally skip any portion of the liturgy, he does rush some of them, turning them into vain repetition:
Spoiler


In this light, it is interesting to meditate on what role the waitress in the Frosty Bottle plays in Enoch's daily liturgy. I have my ideas, but will save them for a bit.

I am really enjoying reading this again.

#49 Diane

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 12:50 PM

Fascinating, anglican. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the waitress.

#50 anglicanbeachparty

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 01:34 PM

QUOTE(Diane @ Jun 27 2005, 01:50 PM)
Fascinating, anglican. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the waitress.

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I'm trying not to press too hard to force the chapter into my "liturgical" interpretation of it, but here goes:

I think the waitress in The Frosty Bottle represents that part of the litury which deals with the recitation of the Law (10 Commandments), the Confession of Sin, and Absolution. Only, as you'd expect in the Church Without Christ, things are backwards.

In the Christian Liturgy, we hear the Law read (or recite it ourselves), and then declare that we are not clean. The priest, giving us absolution, contradicts us ... telling us that (by virtue of Christ's work alone) we are clean.. In the Frosty Bottle, however,
Spoiler

Edited by anglicanbeachparty, 29 June 2005 - 01:36 PM.


#51 Diane

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 04:52 PM

Ooooh. I like your take on that scene, anglican! Nice job!

#52 Mark

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 10:09 AM

I had something insightful to add about two weeks ago, and of course it slipped through the sieve that passes for my brain. Something about eyes ... and a comparison to the "eyes of God" imagery in The Great Gatsby. Even though I can't recall it exactly right now, I wanted to post to put this thread back in play, and to prove I'm not totally slacking in my book club duties. Need to consult my notes, return to the chapter I was thinking of, and pull it together.

So, today I'm headed back to the novel (so close to the end, but haven't read in at least a week), and will post, post haste. smile.gif

(P.S. Yeah, anglican, that is a seriously cool take on Enoch and the liturgy! I'm going back to re-read that in light of what you wrote.)

#53 anglicanbeachparty

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 05:10 PM

Wow ... this thread died not with a bang, but with a whimper.

I think folks here like movies better than books!

#54 Benchwarmer

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 09:16 PM

Thought this story was a good enough reason to bring this thread back into the limelight: http://www.abc.net.a...stralia/5080996

 

It is a church without religion, a congregation that celebrates life rather than any god.

Sunday Assembly, or church for atheists, is a gathering of the godless and is on its way to Australia. It aims to celebrate and inspire. It also serves tea and cake.

"The Sunday Assembly has been called the atheist church, but we prefer to think of it as all the best bits of church but with no religion and awesome songs," British comedian Sanderson Jones said.

"Our motto is "live better, help often and wonder more", and our mission is to help everyone live this one life as fully as possible."

 


Edited by Benchwarmer, 09 November 2013 - 09:16 PM.