Wise Blood

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Hazel ‘Haze’ Motes

A young soldier returning from the war, whose whole family has died, leaving him alone in the world. He was raised in a very religious family – his grandfather was a country preacher – but… (read full character analysis)

Enoch Emory

Enoch is an eighteen-year-old boy, a newcomer in Taulkinham, and desperate for friendship and human connection. He is animalistic in his approach to life, invested in rituals that indulge in the baser side of humanity… (read full character analysis)

Sabbath Lily Hawks / The Young Girl

The teenaged daughter of Asa Hawks, Sabbath helps her father in his begging and preaching ventures, fully knowing that he is a fraud. She decides early in the novel to seduce Hazel, and… (read full character analysis)

Asa Hawks / The Blind Man

The father of Sabbath Lily Hawks, he earns money begging as a blind preacher, but is in fact a fraud. The scars on his face are from a real event, at which he had… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Flood

The landlady at the boarding house where Asa Hawks and Sabbath Lily Hawks have a room, and where Hazel moves in upstairs. The final chapter is told from her perspective, recounting her developing relationship with… (read full character analysis)
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Onnie Jay Holy/Hoover Shoats

A scam artist and former radio preacher, he attempts to partner with Hazel to make money by founding the Holy Church of Christ Without Christ. When Hazel reveals that the “new jesus” is only a… (read full character analysis)

The Policeman

A policeman who pulls Hazel over as he is on his way away from Taulkinham. The policeman tells Hazel that he pulls him over because he doesn’t like his face. He tricks Hazel into driving… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Leora Watts
A large blond woman, presumably a prostitute, who has “the friendliest bed in town.” Hazel goes to her house after finding her address written in a bathroom stall at the train station, and she takes his virginity.
Mrs. Wally Bee Hitchcock
A talkative woman on the train that Hazel takes to Taulkinham, she mistakes him for a preacher. Later Hazel encounters her in the corridor of the train on her way to bed. She is half-blind without her glasses, and her hair is in “revolting” curlers.
A waitress at the Frosty Bottle in the city park. Enoch goes in every day to harass her and order a chocolate shake. She has muscles like a man and drinks whisky from a fruit jar under the counter.
Gonga the Gorilla
A man in a gorilla suit who stars in movies (where people think he is a real gorilla). He comes to Taulkinham to shake hands with his fans, and Enoch becomes obsessed by him.
Solace Layfield
The man hired by Hoover Shoats to impersonate Hazel Motes as the Prophet of Holy Church of Christ Without Christ. He has six kids, and consumption. Hazel runs him over with his car.
The Porter
An African-American porter in the train that carries Hazel to Taulkinham. Hazel is convinced that he is from the Parrum family of his hometown, Easton, but the porter insists that he is from Chicago.
Taxi Driver
The man who drives Hazel from the train station in Taulkinham to Leora Watts’ house. He is convinced that Hazel is a preacher.
The owner of a used car dealership and junkyard, he sells Hazel his car after some bartering. He has a son who works at the dealership and curses almost without ceasing.
The Woman (with the two little boys)
A woman who frequents the city swimming pool, where Enoch watches her. She comes to haunt Hazel.
Mary Brittle
An advice columnist who exchanges letters with Sabbath Hawks.
The One-Armed Man
A silent gas-station attendant in the country, who helps Hazel to restart his car, asking for nothing in return.