Hazel’s broken-down car, purchased for forty dollars, is an important symbol in the novel. On the one hand, it represents home, a place that Hazel can call his own—when he is most frustrated by those around him, he always attempts to escape to his car. On the other, it represents free will, since the mobility that it provides (when it works) offers Hazel the freedom to go wherever he chooses. As he tries to escape his religious destiny, this ever-faulty vehicle of his free will represents the unsuccessful attempts he makes to avoid that destiny, and its ultimate destruction prompts his collapse into repentance. The fact that the car becomes the weapon in Hazel’s murder of Onnie Jay Holy’s hired imposter also suggests that it wasn’t fate that drove Hazel to kill—it was his own free will.
Hazel’s Car Quotes in Wise Blood
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.
The entire possibility of this came from the advantage of having a car—of having something that moved fast, in privacy, to the place you wanted to be. He looked out the window at the Essex. It sat high and square in the pouring rain. He didn’t notice the rain, only the car; if asked he would not have been able to say it was raining.