Hazel’s hat is an outward sign of his outsider status. It is consistently described as “fierce,” and leads many to mistake him for a preacher. Halfway through the novel, he buys himself a new hat, this one all white, as a sign of his new direction with the Church Without Christ, but it does nothing to change his outsider status. The hat is also a sign of Hazel’s spiritual calling, and is often used to highlight a contrast with the baser, more animal nature of the people around him.
Hazel’s Hat Quotes in Wise Blood
Mrs. Watts’ grin was as curved and sharp as the blade of a sickle. It was plain that she was so well-adjusted that she didn’t have to think anymore. Her eyes took everything in whole, like quicksand. “That Jesus-seeing hat!” she said. She sat up and pulled her nightgown from under her and took it off. She reached for his hat and put it on her head and sat with her hands on her hips, walling her eyes in a comical way. Haze stared for a minute, then he made three quick noises that were laughs. He jumped for the electric light cord and took off his clothes in the dark.
Then he slid his legs under the cover by her and sat there as if he were waiting to remember one more thing. She was breathing very quickly. “Take off your hat, king of the beasts,” she said gruffly and her hand came up behind his head and snatched the hat off and sent it flying across the room in the dark.