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....)
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.