Wise Blood

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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 – insulting people, lusting after women, eating sugary food, and interacting with the animals at the zoo where he works. He is a deeply instinctual outsider, tortured by certain parts of his past and driven by his “wise blood” to perform actions over which he seemingly has no control. He latches onto Hazel as a friend and guiding force.

Enoch Emory Quotes in Wise Blood

The Wise Blood quotes below are all either spoken by Enoch Emory or refer to Enoch Emory. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Farrar, Strauss and Giroux edition of Wise Blood published in 2007.
Chapter 3 Quotes

“I come a long way,” Haze said, “since I would believe anything. I come halfway around the world.
“Me too,” Enoch Emery said.
“You ain’t come so far that you could keep from following me,” the blind man said. He reached out suddenly and his hands covered Haze’s face. For a second Haze didn’t move or make any sound. Then he knocked the hands off.

Related Characters: Hazel ‘Haze’ Motes (speaker), Enoch Emory (speaker), Asa Hawks / The Blind Man (speaker)
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Hazel confronts the blind street preacher, Asa Hawks. Hawks is a figure of what Hazel might have become if he had followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, and Hazel seems fascinated by the dark vision that he represents – a fascination that Hawks picks up on, taking it as evidence that Hazel has some unresolved religious destiny that haunts his past and will inevitably catch back up to him in the future. The surprisingly intimate moment here, initiated by Hawks, who puts his hands over Hazel's face, shows us the kinship between the two dark souls, even as Hazel quickly rejects Hawks' touch. That Hawks presumes he has a right to this intimacy deeply angers Hazel, who has decided to distance himself from his religious destiny and hates being reminded that it follows him in spite of the many miles he has traveled during his time in the military, and the many experiences that ought to have divided him from people like Hawks. 

Enoch, meanwhile, pipes up in an attempt to join in, desperate as he is for connection, but is ignored by all parties. He is an outsider, even here among society's outsiders. 

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Chapter 5 Quotes

He put his fingers to his forehead and then held them in front of his eyes. They were streaked with red. He turned his head and saw a drop of blood on the ground and as he looked at it, he thought it widened like a little spring. He sat straight up, frozen-skinned, and put his finger in it, and very faintly he could hear his blood beating, his secret blood, in the center of the city. Then he knew that whatever was expected of him was only just beginning.

Related Characters: Enoch Emory
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Enoch recovers after Hazel throws a rock that strikes him in the head, as the two of them flee from the museum at the center of the park that houses a shrunken mummy Enoch views as a religious idol. Enoch has gradually pushed Hazel toward this place, in response to the calling of his "wise blood," a sort of prophetic instinct that commands his actions. According to this instinct of Enoch's, Hazel has been chosen to receive the special mystery of the shrunken mummy – but when Enoch shows him, at long last, this secret idol, Hazel angrily rejects this calling. Now, injured and alone again, Enoch is exultant, seeing the world through the streaks of his literal blood. This blood seems magical, imbued with the power to create a spring in the earth.

This moment feels like an ancient ritual of sacrifice, one that might have been appreciated by the makers of the shrunken mummy, for instance. Instinct and religion blend for Enoch, who feels a deep reverence for the signs the world gives him, and a sense of destiny driven by the "secret blood" spilled in front of him now. 

Chapter 8 Quotes

Enoch Emery knew now that his life would never be the same again, because the thing that was going to happen to him had started to happen. He had always known that something was going to happen but he hadn’t known what. If he had been much given to thought, he might have thought that now was the time for him to justify his daddy’s blood, but he didn’t think in broad sweeps like that, he thought what he would do next. Sometimes he didn’t think, he only wondered; then before long he would find himself doing this or that, like a bird finds itself building a nest when it hasn’t actually been planning to.

Related Characters: Enoch Emory
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Enoch prepares for the destiny he feels coming inevitably toward him. His response to the beginning of this destiny reveals the extent to which he has been preparing for this moment his whole life – there is a sense in which Enoch functions as a prophet, the puppet for some divine instinct transmitted through his blood.

As a foil to Hazel, Enoch does not question this primitive religious sense of destiny. Rather than dwelling on the spiritual in an intellectual way, Enoch does not “think in broad sweeps” at all, focusing only on what is directly in front of him, with an animal’s instinct.O’Connor compares this instinct to the nest-building drive of a bird, suggesting that all of Enoch’s actions are deeply spontaneous and unplanned, but also part of a larger plan that he cannot see, but which is built into his DNA, inherited through his “daddy’s blood.”  

I ain’t going in, he said.
Two doors flew open and he found himself moving down a long red foyer and then up a darker tunnel and then a higher, still darker tunnel. In a few minutes he was up in a high part of the maw, feeling around, like Jonah, for a seat. I ain’t going to look at it, he said furiously. He didn’t like any picture shows but colored musical ones.

Related Characters: Enoch Emory
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Enoch is wandering the town, attempting to avoid the call of his “wise blood,” but finds himself inevitably drawn by its command into a movie theater he had stubbornly hoped to escape. Here, O’Connor makes an explicit comparison between Enoch and a famous Old Testament prophet, Jonah, transforming the movie theater into the belly of the whale with a gaping ‘maw,’ or mouth. Jonah, too, had tried to escape his destiny by denying God’s call, but was duly punished by a storm that forced him to jump into the sea, where the whale swallowed him. In his inner dialogue, Enoch repeatedly denies the impulse of his “wise blood,” his frustration mounting as instinct continues to overcome his will to deny it.

O’Connor’s prose removes the decision-making from Enoch’s power – the doors to the cinema “flew open,” seemingly without his active participation, and he “found himself moving.” He is almost unconscious of the actions of his body, completely out of control of his instinct-driven choices.  

Chapter 9 Quotes

Haze stayed in his car about an hour and had a bad experience in it: he dreamed he was not dead but only buried. He was not waiting on the Judgment because there was no Judgment, he was waiting on nothing. Various eyes looked through the back oval window at his situation, some with considerable reverence, like the boy from the zoo, and some only to see what they could see… Then a woman with two little boys on either side of her stopped and looked in, grinning. After a second, she pushed the boys out of view and indicated that she would climb in and keep him company for a while, but she couldn’t get through the glass and finally she went off.

Related Characters: Hazel ‘Haze’ Motes, Enoch Emory, The Woman (with the two little boys)
Related Symbols: Hazel’s Car, Coffins
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Hazel falls asleep in his car and has a nightmare that centers on the final Judgment and the judging eyes of those around him. At the beginning of his nightmare, he is trapped in a coffin, an old fear that has haunted him since, as a young boy, he watched most of his family being buried, one by one. In this nightmare there is no Judgment, and this lack of Judgment seems to strike Hazel not as a sign of his freedom from sin, but rather as an invitation to infinite limbo, trapped forever with no hope of escape.

The eyes that look into his coffin, who may also be peering into the car where he sleeps, represent the many townspeople who view Hazel as an eccentric outsider – people with whom Hazel has tried and failed to form any connection. Enoch is mentioned, but only as "the boy from the zoo," revealing Hazel's casual attitude toward him. By directing Enoch's reverent gaze at Hazel behind the glass of his car window, O'Connor suggests that Hazel should be identified in some way with the small, shrunken mummy in the glass case of the museum. Hazel is on display, an oddity from a bygone era, not at home in the modern world – a vessel of spiritual power that is misunderstood and under appreciated. The woman with two boys, though, appreciates what he has to offer, in a lewd sense, desperate for an animal connection that frightens him most of all. 

Chapter 11 Quotes

The child in front of him finished and stepped aside and left him facing the ape, who took his hand with an automatic motion. It was the first hand that had been extended to Enoch since he had come to the city. It was warm and soft. For a second he only stood there, clasping it. Then he began to stammer. “My name is Enoch Emery,” he mumbled…
The star leaned slightly forward and a change came in his eyes: an ugly pair of human ones moved closer and squinted at Enoch from behind the celluloid pair. “You go to hell,” a surly voice inside the ape-suit said, low but distinctly, and the hand was jerked away.

Related Characters: Enoch Emory (speaker), Gonga the Gorilla (speaker)
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Enoch waits in line to meet Gonga the Gorilla, an experience he sees as his divine reward for having followed his wise blood's commands so far. He plans to insult Gonga, an idea that gives him great pleasure – but when he feels the warm hand extended toward him, the first he has felt since arriving in Taulkinham, his loneliness takes over, and he decides to make a friend instead. Enoch's quest for connection reaches a climax here, then, as he reaches out to Gonga and is rejected by the man behind the mask, who tells him to "go to hell."

The man's ugly eyes emerge from the depths of the ape suit, which seems to have convinced Enoch he was speaking with a real ape until this very moment; Enoch feels real fear while waiting in line, taken in by the illusion just as much as the small children who wait with him. The revelation that Gonga is a man shocks Enoch, who reels at the collapse of a lie he has believed all this time. He vows revenge, having suffered the deepest rejection possible. 

Chapter 12 Quotes

No gorilla in existence, whether in the jungles of Africa or California, or in New York City in the finest apartment in the world, was happier at that moment than this one, whose god had finally rewarded it.

Related Characters: Enoch Emory
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Enoch strolls through the woods in Gonga's gorilla costume, having murdered its previous occupant and buried his own clothing. He has been completely transfigured into an animal – arguably, the state to which he has always felt most drawn. For Enoch, this transformation is a moment of perfect, religious joy, the completion of a quest to find his destiny that led him down many unexpected paths, as he followed the command of his wise blood, driven by instinct to this new form. He is perfectly happy in this moment, having achieved religious perfection in a way opposite to the intellectual, guilt-ridden, spiritual path walked so laboriously by Hazel Motes.

By comparing Enoch, as a gorilla, to other gorillas in "the jungles of Africa or California, or in New York City in the finest apartment in the world," O'Connor is taking on the somewhat childish, and perhaps even mentally deranged perspective of Enoch, using his inability to distinguish between man and gorilla as a surprisingly effective means of questioning the actual difference between the two. 

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Enoch Emory Character Timeline in Wise Blood

The timeline below shows where the character Enoch Emory appears in Wise Blood. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...a crowd of passersby. For a volunteer, the man singles out a fox-faced boy named Enoch Emery. (full context)
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...at them. He is oblivious to the salesman, who tries to speak to Hazel, until Enoch punches his arm. Hazel explains that he has no wife or “dear old mother” to... (full context)
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch is still trying to get the salesman’s attention to buy a peeler, but the salesman... (full context)
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch tries to make conversation with Hazel, bragging that he is only eighteen, has been in... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch catches Hazel up, and suggests they go buy a soda. Hazel dismisses Enoch, but he... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch jogs to catch up to Hazel, continuing his story. The Welfare woman sent him to... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch is sure that Hazel is a wealthy man and tells him so, but Hazel remains... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...blind man laughs, ignoring the girl, and tells Hazel that he can’t run from Jesus. Enoch pipes up about the Bible Academy, but everyone ignores him. Hazel insists that he’s come... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch continues to interject, telling everyone that his daddy looks just like Jesus, with long hair... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...by a car in the street. Hazel continues on, only turning at the sound of Enoch’s footsteps behind him. He tries to lose Enoch, walking quickly, but Enoch follows doggedly on,... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Enoch half-invites Hazel to a brothel, but as they turn up Leora Watts’ street, Hazel finally... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Hazel turns in toward Mrs. Watts’ house, ignoring Enoch. Enoch then reveals that he has the potato peeler box. He says that the young... (full context)
Chapter 5
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch Emery knows upon waking that today he will show someone his secret—the “wise blood” he... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
The park is at the heart of the city, and the “knowing” in Enoch’s blood led him there. He is stunned and awed by seeing the city’s heart every... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Enoch leaves his post and takes the path to the pool. He sees a woman with... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch thinks of his routine—he never goes immediately to the “dark secret center” of the park.... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...by the sound of the noisy, rat-colored car passing back and forth, looking for something. Enoch cranes to see it, and recognizes Hazel emerging stiffly from the car in his suit... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Hazel and Enoch watch as the woman pulls herself out of the pool, seeing first her “cadaverous” head... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Hazel sits sourly in his car, tensed as if about to shout. Enoch asks him how he is, and Hazel responds that the guard told him he would... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch’s brain is in two parts—the first part, in connection with his blood, does “the figuring”... (full context)
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Hazel is impatient as Enoch orders his milkshake from the muscled waitress. Enoch tells her that his friend “ain’t hungry... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
...nice quiet boy like him is spending time with a “son of a bitch” like Enoch. She goes on, telling Hazel that she always knows a clean boy when she sees... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch rushes Hazel out the door and into the car, desperate to get him to the... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch hurries on, eager to get to their final destination, but Hazel has stopped by a... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Hazel and Enoch go up the front stairs and sneak through the front door past the sleeping guard,... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...coffin case. When Hazel sees her he starts, and a noise escapes from his mouth. Enoch thinks it has come from the figure in the case. He dashes out after the... (full context)
Chapter 8
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Enoch feels deeply that something monumental is beginning, and his wise blood is stirring. He does... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
First, Enoch begins to save his pay, which is unusual. He also regularly steals from supermarkets, where... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
The washstand is what Enoch feels is most important in the room, most linked to mysterious rites he does not... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
On the orders of his wise blood, Enoch buys some curtains, gilt paint, and a brush. He is disappointed because he had hoped... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
The next, Monday, Enoch wakes up knowing that whatever important event is to come will happen that day. His... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch is drawn toward a popcorn machine, and fishes two nickels out of the money pouch... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch is hurrying home now, eager to escape whatever thing his blood has in store for... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Enoch recovers against the wall outside, and feels that his fate is almost upon him. At... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Enoch begins to shout in response, but without making a sound. Hazel continues preaching, telling people... (full context)
Chapter 9
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...and is waiting on nothing, that various people are eyeing him through the window—he recognizes Enoch, and then the woman with two little boys, who tries to climb into the car... (full context)
Chapter 11
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...as it starts to rain heavily, ducking into a drugstore and lowering his glasses—it is Enoch, on his way to Hazel Motes’ house with the mummy, which he has stolen from... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Enoch stole the shriveled mummy the day before, smearing his face with brown shoe polish so... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Now Enoch is on his way to Hazel’s house, although he has never been there before. He... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...waiting there observe him, laughing when his broken umbrella spills more water on his head. Enoch glares and lowers his glasses, and then turns to face a life-size poster of Gonga... (full context)
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch gets in line with the children, who start to engage him in discussion, but he... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
...steps up and shakes Gonga’s hand, then another, then two boys. The line reforms, and Enoch gets closer and closer, panicking, unable to think of a suitable insult. (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Then Enoch is shaking Gonga’s warm, furry hand, and he realizes that it is the first time... (full context)
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch and his bundle are soaked by the time he reaches the Hawks’ house, and he... (full context)
Chapter 12
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch feels sure that the new jesus will reward him in return for his service—he has... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
That evening Enoch takes the stick out with him to a little restaurant called the Paris Diner, with... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch sidles over to the other customer and asks if he might borrow a part of... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Enoch hurries through the pleasant dark streets of the city, enjoying the lights shining in the... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
...Then he digs a hole with the sharp stick. The moon reveals him to be Enoch, his face scratched and with one lump under the eye. He is burning with intense... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
For a while he is still, and then Enoch begins to growl, beating his chest and jumping up and down. He practices shaking hands... (full context)