Ryan Steele's Reviews > Wise Blood

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
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's review
Sep 14, 2011

liked it
Read in February, 2009

Wise Blood follows Hazel Motes, who tries to start the "Church Without Christ." Avoiding summarizing the whole book, I'll jump right into one of the most interesting character developments I've seen. There is a moment in the novel when Hazel runs over a prophet from an opposing church with his car, intentionally, and he ends up killing him. This was interesting in that, it was character development like I hadn't seen. The prophet was, more or less, a mirror image of Hazel. By killing this mirror image, Hazel has killed himself. It was a revelation and epiphany that was unique. A character sees someone that is just like him, but he hates him in every way, so what does he do, he kills him. This development isn't just explored here either. Hazel eventually puts out his own eyes and takes to a life of self mutilation for atonement. It's a character development in which Hazel kills off his old self and takes up a new persona. Many times, writers will have characters go through traumatic events so that they may grow, or someone else will die. Having a character kill their mirror image is such a unique take, one that I'd like to explore in my writing. I love the idea of a characters worst enemy being with in, as I believe that's a very real concept, and to have to face, or even murder that person, is such a profound way of exemplifying that conflict. Wise Blood truly shows what an inner conflict looks like.

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