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Wiseblood by Flannery O’Connor

Wiseblood by Flannery O’Connor. Overview. Genre: Comedy Irony Hyperbole=>Grotesque Symbol Theme Allusion. Comedy. “All comic novels that are any good must be about matters of life and death” Two visions of integrity: author’s and popular culture’s

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Wiseblood by Flannery O’Connor

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  1. Wiseblood by Flannery O’Connor

  2. Overview • Genre: Comedy • Irony • Hyperbole=>Grotesque • Symbol • Theme • Allusion

  3. Comedy • “All comic novels that are any good must be about matters of life and death” • Two visions of integrity: author’s and popular culture’s • “Free will does not mean one will but many wills conflicting in one man. • “Freedom cannot be conceived of simply.” • “It is a mystery and one which a comic novel can only be asked to deepen.”

  4. Opening into Awe, catharsis cf. Role of Greek Theater not something “to be solved” Mystery Versus Problem

  5. Irony • “”Jesus would have him in the end.” • “…the way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin.”

  6. The Preacher’s hat:grandfather and Haze’s past “That Jesus Seeing Hat” (60) take of that hat , king of the beasts… and she sent it flying across the room into the dark. 170 Woman in Casket: sin/death (cf women in Faustus--Nan Spit/Helen) The Essex (Death in Life, Pulpit, “escape”) “No body with a good car needs to be justified.” 113 This is a good car….I knew when I first saw it that it was the car for me, and since I’ve had it, I’ve had a place to be that I can always get away in.” 115 “I told you this car would get me anywhere I wanted to go” 127 Irony and truth and many wills: escape itself as symbol (false) of freedom Symbols: The Automobile (recall Faustus’s ambitions) • I don’t have to run from anything because I don’t believe in anything.” • “Wiseblood”(irrational, intuitive) • Blindness-false and true (paradox) “He preached on the blindness of Paul…”114

  7. Sabbath Lily Hawks (bird imagery—Haze is describe with a nose like a shrike’s) Mary Brittle—popular philosophy/advice “Read some books on Ethical culture.” 119 I’m adjusted okay to the modern world.” 120 Worst thing you could possibly be…think about it “It was plain that she was so well adjusted that she didn’t have to think any more.” 60 Trip to the whore house, 147… “You ain’t true.” 155 Names and characterizations

  8. MODERNISM: “No truth behind all truths is what I and this church preach! Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is there a place for you to be? No place. Your conscience is a trick” cf. Kant’s proof It don’t exist and …if you think it does, you had best get it out in the open and hunt it down and kill it, because it’s no more than your face in the mirror is or your shadow behind you.” 166 cf. The True Prophet Truth: The Role of The Double--externalize internal conflict

  9. “...Snatched the shriveled body and threw it against the wall. The head popped and trash inside sprayed out in a little cloud of dust….”I’ve seen the only truth there is!” “To some other city, I got a car to get there in, I got….it sounded like a little yell for help at the bottom of the canyon.” 189 What does the new jesus do for Enoch in return for his services…? “No gorilla in existence, whether in the jungles of Africa or California, or in New York City was happier at that moment than this one, whose god had finally rewarded it.” 198 Action as Symbol:Conversion

  10. “You ain’t true …you believe in jesus.” “Take off that suit” Cf gorilla suit/Enoch as Intuition/ pushing Haze along Essex runs over him “Jesus he’p me.” “Does one’s integrity ever lie in what he is not able to do? Metanoia: an outward manifestation

  11. Metanoiafolks, I really mean this and so does O’Connor: Haze stops running • Haze stood for a few minutes, looking over at the scene. His face seemed to reflect the entire distance across the clearing and on beyond, the entire distance that extended from his eyes to the blank gray sky that went on, depth after depth, into space. His knees bent under him and he sat down on the edge of the embankment with his feet hanging over. • The patrolman. . . . leaned on down with his hands on his knees and said in an anxious voice, "Was you going anywheres?" • "No," Haze said (107-8)

  12. Cadmus: preserve family name Faustus won’t repent and chooses to suffer eternal torment because he fears bodily pain Can contemporary students take seriously the issue of Sacred Versus the Profane? Or understand that some literature does? LK: ch 8 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “ ‘though seeing, they may not see;       though hearing, they may not understand. If you yourself would become the parable… Why such problems?

  13. Irony: parallels • Followed by blinding self. (paradox, irony of symbol) • Tiresisas, Saul/Paul • “To her the blind man had a look of seeing something” 214

  14. Apollonian rationalism: control • “She thought of her own head as a switchbox where she controlled from…” (Apollonian) but with him , she could only imagine the outside in, the whole black world in his head and his head bigger than the world, his head big enough to include the sky, planets and whatever was or had been or would be. How would he know if he was going backwards or forwards or if he was going along with it? (Dionysian)

  15. Recall C.S. Lewis: the problem of Will • For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline and virtue. • For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men. • Recall: “The God I serve is mine own appetite”: what of the “mind of man”: limits of human vision

  16. “I’m as good, Mr. Motes,…not believing in Jesus as a many a one that does.” “You’re better,” he said, “If you believed in Jesus you wouldn’t be so good.” “He had never paid her a compliment before!” ‘If there’s no bottom to your eyes, they hold more.” “I want to go on where I’m going.” 230 Perspectives on Conversion:Irony

  17. Irony of conversions: Simile • She imagined it was like you were walking in a tunnel and all you could see was a pin point of light. She had to imagine the pin point of light; she couldn’t think of it all without that. [why?] She saw it as some kind of star, like the star on Christmas cards. She saw him going backwards to Bethlehem and had to laugh.”

  18. Become the parable! • “She felt as if she were blocked at the entrance of something. She sat staring with her eyes shut, into his eyes, and felt as if she had finally got to the beginning of something she couldn’t begin, and saw him moving farther and farther into the darkness until he was a pin point of light.” 232

  19. Elements of Tragedy Empathy Catastrophe Marlow’s response The tale to tell Triumph of the individual will leads to the horror, the horror” Consumer society Elements of Comedy Distance Harmony Mrs. Flood response The start of something Secular defeat is Spiritual Victory Consumer Society Comparisons: tragedy Vs comedy

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