Flannery O'Connor's Stories

Redemption in Christ in Wise Blood

In Wise Blood, Flannery O’Conner creates a spiritually empty world in which her characters attempt to live life without morals or religion. Hazel Motes, the protagonist, creates the Church without Christ to escape organized religion all together. In her novel, Flannery O’ Conner explores humanity’s need for spiritual truth and purpose. She uses Hazel Motes, Enoch Emery, Asa Hawks, and Mrs. Flood to demonstrate that man cannot find spiritual fulfillment in material prosperity, but only through redemption by Christ.

O’Conner illustrates Christ’s redemption of humanity through Hazel Motes. She describes Hazel as a “Christian malgre lui” (a Christian in spite of himself) (Kreyling 71). At the age of twelve, Haze believes himself to be destined be become a preacher just like his father, but quickly deserts his Christian faith. He becomes convinced he does not have a soul, and establishes the Church without Christ to preaching of a new Jesus. He, however, is not the only one struggling with religion; in fact, all of O’ Conner’s character’s exhibit a misdirected sense of spiritual purpose, if one at all. He also shares with other characters feelings of solitude and displacement. As he returns home from the army, he finds his family...

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