Wise Blood

Hazel’s Car Symbol Analysis

Hazel’s Car Symbol Icon

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

The Wise Blood quotes below all refer to the symbol of Hazel’s Car. 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 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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Wise Blood quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 11 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Hazel ‘Haze’ Motes
Related Symbols: Hazel’s Car
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim

Get the entire Wise Blood LitChart as a printable PDF.
Wise blood.pdf.medium

Hazel’s Car Symbol Timeline in Wise Blood

The timeline below shows where the symbol Hazel’s Car appears in Wise Blood. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...two good feet. Hazel remembers his grandfather, shouting to the assembled crowd from atop his car. His grandfather would single out Hazel, who resembled him, in the crowd, and ask everyone... (full context)
Chapter 4
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Hazel wakes up and carefully extracts himself from Mrs. Watts’ bed, having decided to buy a car. He has no... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...asks to see the owner, the boy claims that he is Slade. Hazel examines the car: its backseat has been replaced by a wooden board, and there are dark green window... (full context)
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...in Detroit, using a common slur for African-Americans, as Hazel offers thirty dollars for the car. Hazel kicks the tire, and they settle on fifty. Before they leave the lot, Slade... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
Hazel buys the car for forty dollars, and buys some gasoline as well, which the boy pours from a... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
...drives without thinking, unable to stop or even slow down without having to restart the car. It has begun to rain. Hazel passes long blocks of uniform houses with “ugly dog”... (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
The car is stopped now, and the driver of a long oil truck behind Hazel emerges to... (full context)
Chapter 5
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
His reverie is interrupted by the sound of the noisy, rat-colored car passing back and forth, looking for something. Enoch cranes to see it, and recognizes Hazel... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
...shoulder, and Enoch whispers “King Jesus,” as Hazel springs up and heads back to his car. Enoch follows him, shouting. (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... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...is full of words and phrases. This part engages Hazel in small talk about the car, or tries to. Hazel is totally unresponsive, as Enoch tells him about a yellow Ford... (full context)
Chapter 6
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...Asa Hawks and the young girl. He follows them home, pressing his face against the car window to see their house number. Then Haze drives to the cinema, where a movie... (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
Meanwhile Hazel is sitting in his car to think, and he decides to seduce the young girl. If he sees his daughter... (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
Hazel murmurs that “nobody with a good car needs to be justified,” and hurries out of the room. He then reopens the door... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Hazel takes his car to a garage and asks the mechanic to fix the horn and take out the... (full context)
Chapter 7
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
The next day Hazel takes the car out to drive in the country. The sky is blue, with only one cloud, a... (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
...and says “I see you” again. Hazel heads back up the road to the unlocked car, but begins to panic when it won’t start. Sabbath comes to the window, and he... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
The man puts a gallon of gas in the car, but it still doesn’t start. He silently examines the engine, not answering when Hazel asks... (full context)
Chapter 8
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
...dogs hear,” and comes upon the figure of Hazel Motes preaching on top of his car. Enoch has not seen Hazel since the day in the park, and now he listens... (full context)
Chapter 9
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
...He begins to write down names of the gathered listeners, but Hazel jumps into the car, attempting to start it. Onnie tells him to wait, but he begins to slowly drive... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Onnie persists as Hazel tries to start the malfunctioning car, telling him that he needs an “artist-type” to help him run the Church. He tries... (full context)
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...transformed Onnie (who now reveals his real name, Hoover Shoats), and tries to close the car door around his head. Frustrated, Hazel slams the door, catching Shoats’ thumb. Shoats howls in... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...after a final threat, and then Hazel falls asleep and has a nightmare in the car’s backseat. He dreams that he has been buried alive and is waiting on nothing, that... (full context)
Chapter 10
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
The next night, Haze parks his car outside the Odeon theater and begins to preach, striking a strange pose atop his car.... (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
Hazel drives away in his car and returns to his room, where Sabbath Hawks is waiting in the bed. She stubbornly... (full context)
Chapter 11
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...another woman and make a new start. All of this is possible because of his car, and the sight of it out the window gives Hazel the energy to finish dressing,... (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
...he wants nothing but the truth. He tells her that he is leaving in the car, and that he will go to some other city and preach the Church Without Christ,... (full context)
Chapter 13
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
...thirty-five cents. Three dollars go to the “Prophet” for his services and use of his car. The impostor’s name is Solace Layfield, and he has consumption and six children. He never... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Hazel’s face watches Shoats and the “Prophet” for an hour, and then his car follows Solace’s while he drops off Shoats and carries on to his own home. As... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
Solace begins to walk away down the middle of the road, and Hazel starts the car, yelling at him to take off the suit. Solace begins to pull it off as... (full context)
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
...the rear tire might last twenty miles if he goes slow. Hazel responds that the car is just beginning its life, and a bolt of lightning couldn’t stop it. Then he... (full context)
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Instinct and the Animal Theme Icon
The Nature of Truth Theme Icon
...to see the view, and Hazel assumes he wants to fight. He obligingly drives the car up to the top of the hill, and turns it toward the embankment as the... (full context)
Chapter 14
Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin Theme Icon
Free Will vs. Destiny Theme Icon
Isolation and the Outsider Theme Icon
...so that he won’t be any trouble. Hazel dies in the back of the squad car, but the policemen don’t notice, and they deliver his corpse to Mrs. Flood. (full context)