Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin
Religion is at the core of O’Connor’s novel, as Hazel Motes struggles against the belief he was born into, and Enoch follows his own strange mysteries, investing faithfully in private rites and rituals.
Raised by a preacher, Hazel believed that he would become a preacher himself, but after time abroad in the war he became an impassioned atheist. Now Hazel struggles against that faith, a struggle that is both external (he aggressively struggles against…read analysis of Religious Belief, Redemption, and Sin
Free Will vs. Destiny
Although Hazel tries to assert his free will by escaping religion, his destiny seems to be tied irreversibly to belief and the life of a preacher, which finds him wherever he goes. Enoch, too, is driven by a sense of destiny that he thinks of as the calling of his ‘wise blood,’ although he too tries to fight against it in certain moments, also without success. Both characters seem driven by the accumulation…read analysis of Free Will vs. Destiny
The Nature of Truth
Perhaps Hazel’s most lucid and compelling point as a preacher is the assertion that there is no truth, aside from the truth that there is no truth. He promotes empiricism, the belief that one can only know whatever one has direct experience of, and rejects those who claim to find truth through faith. This intellectual argument, though piercing, has little effect on the few listeners who assemble to hear Hazel’s speeches in the street.
On…read analysis of The Nature of Truth
Isolation and the Outsider
O’Connor’s novel tells the story of two deeply lonely outsiders - Enoch and Hazel – along with a set of supporting characters who are often equally isolated, from the tormented false preacher Asa Hawks to the lovelorn landlady, Mrs. Flood. These lonely characters are often driven primarily by a desire to connect with one another.
Enoch, for example, follows the unwelcoming Hazel in pursuit of a friend. Enoch has habitual (and thorny, characterized by…read analysis of Isolation and the Outsider