Black Boy

The Quest for Salvation: Religion in Wise Blood and Black Boy

The Christian religion plays a key role in both Flannery O’Connor’s <i>Wise Blood</i> and Richard Wright’s <i>Black Boy</i>. Despite the authors’ ideological differences, both Wright’s childhood self and O’Connor’s protagonist, Hazel Motes, share common objectives: to understand and overcome the traumatic religious experiences imposed upon them during their upbringings, and, ultimately, to achieve self-identity and peace.

The ideologies and cultural contexts of the two texts stand in sharp contrast, yet they speak to one another in a number of significant ways. O’Connor was an outspoken Evangelist. Robert Drake explains, “Her vision of man in this world was uncompromisingly Christian: she saw all of life in Christian terms; she thought the gospels were really true; and she accepted the historic teachings of the church” (184). In his unsuccessful attempt to run away from Christ, Haze reveals to the reader the necessity of Christian redemption. In her Author’s Note to the second edition, O’ Connor makes her intentions clear:

<BLOCKQUOTE>That belief in Christ is to some a matter of life and death has been a stumbling block for readers who would prefer to think it a matter of no great consequence. For...

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