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Lecture 32

ENG328Y1 Lecture 32: Lecture 32
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Department
English
Course Code
ENG328Y1
Professor
Greig Henderson

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Wise Blood
Hayes car-journey, home, church, shelter from terrors of space
Gives up mission of blasphemy when car leaves
He comes face to face with emptiness in him and in landscape
But not here-must impose moral coherence- not clear what revelation if any is given
to him
Land lady speech but not something he experiences
He has nightmares but no gnostic vision to confront them
Turns wholly inward in his blindness and seeks death
Must confront reality of nothing that has only been abstraction from this point
Faint hint that maybe he sense something more- something beyond material
dimension
Places everything on a wager that there may be something more
Repentance to the nothing- declares himself clean-becomes other- worldly figure
Landlady- reflecting device who reveals spiritual significance of haze’s phase
Epitomizes worldliness he encounters everywhere
She is moral relativist
His end- rejection of secularized age but also of life taken through the senses at all-
in a world of matter
By end of novel chasm between inner and outer spirit is absolute-between Hayes and
milieu of novel no genuine point of contact
Warped sexuality or lack of- refusal of physicality-lack of self-knowledge-
mutilations- all make him an easy object of disgusted laughter
Just has sex to show that sin is not a category that is going to affect his behaviour
Iking it is not part of his aesthetic realm
He just does it to show sin is not a thing-no ramifications
Present extremes
Enoch or Hayes-monkey or munkery-immersion in repellent world of matter or
grotesque search for god
World is not book of god- god entirely separate in this novel
God that appears in this novel not imminent in nature
At its core this is a gnostic book
No sacramental overtones to the description of nature
Imagery of animals objects and machines epitomizes without transcending
Honest look that fitted to his face like a set of false teeth
Its right to steal from the government because they support all these people…
One armed Christian serves on act of charity in world or repulsion- doesn’t charge
him for gas
Question that persists- what if anything does Hayes see? Transcend?
A fornicating, blaspheming, murdering, atheist who dedicates himself to preaching
the non- existence- seems opposite of transcending
Vision of kenosis (emptying out the self)
Transcendence achieved through boundary breaking or kenosis- salvation achieved
through sin here- by separating humanity from divinity- not part of creation
whatsoever
To see truly you must be blinded
To transgress you must violate taboos
Protests so much about not believing in Jesus on the train
Childhood incidences-
Preacher grandfather uses him as an example- Jesus would die 10 million deaths
before he let him lose his soul-the way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin
Hayes wants to avoid salvation by avoiding sin
Scared of the Jesus in his mind- motioning for him to come up into the dark where he
was not sure of his footing
Later incident- his father brings him to carnival where he sees sin for the first time
No representations of sexuality as something sensuous in this novel- all revolting
First incident of self mortification-the stones in his shoes
Now on path to transcendence
Sinning against the Jesus he wanted to avoid has brought the wild figure closer to
him rather than farther away
Adult Hazel-fornication, blasphemy and violence-his 3 kinds of transcendence
Pg. 106- pursues whore to show he didn’t believe in sin
What do I need with Jesus? I got Leora watts
Binding himself more and more tightly with figure in his mind with every
transgression
Pg. 169- Sabbath asks if he wants to learn how to like it- he never learns how to like
it
He blasphemes on the train-says he doesn’t believe in Jesus-acts of open rebellion-
feels power-but nobody else is impressed by his rebellion
Tragedy of people who have grown up as secular humanists- need religious guilt to
enjoy life
To rebel against something need to believe it has power and authority over him
They dismiss him as a crank on the train-nobody cares if he believes or not
No response from passer-by's on the streets wither
Saying nothing matters has no impact on them
For them religion and spirituality are not the pressing issues they are for Hazel- he is
not a wild figure for them
The blasphemy of the church without a Christ is lost on his landlady-protestant?
He says only way to church is through blasphemy
His preaching is primarily for himself
Blasphemes for an audience of 1 pg. 69
Nothing matters but that Jesus don’t exist- no transcendent reality because that
which is wholly other does not exist
God is a trick
Despite individualistic and atheistic prose- he seems incapable of fooling anyway-
always struggling with god on his mind
I could hear the urge for Jesus in his voice…
Everyone takes him for a preacher-that hat looks like a preacher’s hat
Struggle with the wild figure in his mind turns violent- binds him more tightly to the
figure
Sol- persecutor of Christians blinded by god- wrote one book of new testament
Archetype of rebirth- born again in his Christian identity
Parallel-both 1st century Christians and Solace Layfield killed because from point of
view of their killers they are not true and not Jesus
When Hazel murders Layfield- he kills double of himself-preacher and same physical
appearance- preaching same message
Views himself from outside himself seeing himself as other see him
Symbolic kenosis begins after murder of solace
Hat has been tied throughout novel to role of preacher- solace hat
His accusation-you ain't true- may just as well be made against himself
He then gives up idea of preaching and blasphemy as way to truth
Tells attendant at gas station that he had only just believed in blasphemy as way to
salvation
But couldn’t believe in that either because you still have to believe in something to
believe in blasphemy
The one who makes fun of gay people is the one who is the most secure about his
own sexuality
Those who have religious sensibility don’t regard- in order to be blasphemer you must
have investment in what you are reacting against
Last attempt to avoid ragged figure in his mind is to leave- after watching as his car
is killed he stands and watches- his face represented entire distance that extended
from his eyes…into space
Hazel is blinded-but unlike sol he blinds himself and its permanent
Turns his violence inward-directs it inward instead of others-kenosis
Behavior becomes odder than usual after his self-inflicted blindness
Says he doesn’t have time to preach pg. 221
Walked as though his feet hurt him but he had to go on
Discovered his shoes are full of stuff to hurt him
Says he does this “to pay”
He sleeps with barbed wire around his chest and says “I'm not clean”
Complete reversal of his stance from before when he said he was clean-if Jesus
existed I wouldn't be clean
Can his insistence that he is unclean be read as an indication that he believes in
Jesus now? or that he just believes in something gnosis or something else?
What he sees with his bottomless eyes…
Goal is to find the truth
The truth cannot be pursued externally though, can only be pursued internally
The uncleanness of having valued self over that wild ragged figure
Removes himself from world of icons and conventional religion
In removing him from these things he takes the first steps towards emptying out his
false self
Gnostic god entirely separate from creative world- cannot be seen with eyes of
everyday vision
Can only be seen with the blind deep vision…
Religious taboos
Social taboos
Sexual taboos
All broken
Through these sins he gets to a place where in himself right now is all the place he’s
got
Reaching this place of self he then inflicts
Does he follow the wild ragged figure? The reader has no idea what he reaches-
where if anywhere he arrives
Individuation is the process by which a person becomes the definite unique being he
is
By killing Layfield he is killing his own persona
By blinding himself he turns to the wild ragged figure
Emptying of false self and removal of mask that constitutes persona
He has spent his entire life running from that which he says he does not believe
Demented argument
Antinomian approach to life-if there are no real laws- gnostic libertine strand
Strange argument
A good man is hard to find
With niceness of grandmother lives racist bigotry as well
Wife, baby, kids, husband are all bad
Grandma didn’t wanna go to Florida
Chekov’s gun…
If a criminal is alose you can tell he will have some intersection with this family
Reader is distanced from family- no impulse to identify with any characters
They are not the others who might be us
Everyone stained with corruption
Barbecue guy victim of his own goodness- portrays himself that way
Misfit is the reminder of death
Racial slurs in the book always come from the characters not the narrator
Attempts at humor betray racism as well
Using patitudes as methods of characterisation- charicatures- the grandma and Sammy
always talking about how bad things are- characterization
Everything just getting bad
Eddy green song- a good man is hard to find- doesn’t really have much to do with this tho
Grandmother recalls plantation-lies-but it unleashes fatal consequences that in no way
match her crime or sin
Lets the cat out of the bag-literally
Everything is chance- must be mindful of death in this world
nobody killed in accident
if you encounter psychotic killer best not to tell him you know who he is
but grandmother recognizes the misfit
the misfit knows he isn’t a good man- different from the grandmother
misfit symbolically becomes grandmothers son- changes shirt
either making the leap to faith- or accepting position that if there is no principle of grace in
universe might as well do whatever you feel like
“I know you come from nice people”
there was never a body that gave the undertaker a tip
jesus shouldn’t have raised the dead-threw off the balance
grandmothers maternal gesture provokes homicidal response
comedy and horror merge together
must be misfit with social world in order to fit into religious world
clash between secular grandmother and religious misfit and author
what we get is double perspective- literal and ironic meaning
conventional platitude coexists with religious illusions
divine is obstructive force-breaks and shatters illusion and complacency
you cannot be redeemed without being killed
instead of breaking down language to demonstrate meaningless like Faulkner- uses comedy
and horror to break down reader’s ways of seeing the world
many ways to scramble up reality
altering reader’s mode of perception to make it be not automatic but be prolonged
defamiliarizing tactics reveal something…
misfit’s perception of lack of order and justice more in accordance with the way things are
than the grandmother’s belief in conventional order and religion
grandmother’s perception that people just aren’t as nice as they once were- is as primitive
as her perception of what a good person is
imitating virgin mary
misfit is psychotic Christ figure
we don’t have to accept o’connor’s version of authenticity
can read this as an existential fable- look at hideger as your source
story is trying to shock the hell out of you- on simplistic level
only truth is that there is not truth- so might as well continue on nihilistic path
grandmothers moment of grace comes when she says he is one of her children
she realizes in her limited way that she is responsible for the man before her-kinship has
roots deep in mystery which she has been praddling about so far
price of being a good man or good woman is living with awareness of death- realizing
mortality
if that’s what it takes then a good person is really hard to find
cat in the rain and hills like white elephants- signs and symbols- read these next!
Lecture 32
Monday, February 13, 2017
1:47 PM
Wise Blood
Hayes car-journey, home, church, shelter from terrors of space
Gives up mission of blasphemy when car leaves
He comes face to face with emptiness in him and in landscape
But not here-must impose moral coherence- not clear what revelation if any is given
to him
Land lady speech but not something he experiences
He has nightmares but no gnostic vision to confront them
Turns wholly inward in his blindness and seeks death
Must confront reality of nothing that has only been abstraction from this point
Faint hint that maybe he sense something more- something beyond material
dimension
Places everything on a wager that there may be something more
Repentance to the nothing- declares himself clean-becomes other- worldly figure
Landlady- reflecting device who reveals spiritual significance of haze’s phase
Epitomizes worldliness he encounters everywhere
She is moral relativist
His end- rejection of secularized age but also of life taken through the senses at all-
in a world of matter
By end of novel chasm between inner and outer spirit is absolute-between Hayes and
milieu of novel no genuine point of contact
Warped sexuality or lack of- refusal of physicality-lack of self-knowledge-
mutilations- all make him an easy object of disgusted laughter
Just has sex to show that sin is not a category that is going to affect his behaviour
Iking it is not part of his aesthetic realm
He just does it to show sin is not a thing-no ramifications
Present extremes
Enoch or Hayes-monkey or munkery-immersion in repellent world of matter or
grotesque search for god
World is not book of god- god entirely separate in this novel
God that appears in this novel not imminent in nature
At its core this is a gnostic book
No sacramental overtones to the description of nature
Imagery of animals objects and machines epitomizes without transcending
Honest look that fitted to his face like a set of false teeth
Its right to steal from the government because they support all these people…
One armed Christian serves on act of charity in world or repulsion- doesn’t charge
him for gas
Question that persists- what if anything does Hayes see? Transcend?
A fornicating, blaspheming, murdering, atheist who dedicates himself to preaching
the non- existence- seems opposite of transcending
Vision of kenosis (emptying out the self)
Transcendence achieved through boundary breaking or kenosis- salvation achieved
through sin here- by separating humanity from divinity- not part of creation
whatsoever
To see truly you must be blinded
To transgress you must violate taboos
Protests so much about not believing in Jesus on the train
Childhood incidences-
Preacher grandfather uses him as an example- Jesus would die 10 million deaths
before he let him lose his soul-the way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin
Hayes wants to avoid salvation by avoiding sin
Scared of the Jesus in his mind- motioning for him to come up into the dark where he
was not sure of his footing
Later incident- his father brings him to carnival where he sees sin for the first time
No representations of sexuality as something sensuous in this novel- all revolting
First incident of self mortification-the stones in his shoes
Now on path to transcendence
Sinning against the Jesus he wanted to avoid has brought the wild figure closer to
him rather than farther away
Adult Hazel-fornication, blasphemy and violence-his 3 kinds of transcendence
Pg. 106- pursues whore to show he didn’t believe in sin
What do I need with Jesus? I got Leora watts
Binding himself more and more tightly with figure in his mind with every
transgression
Pg. 169- Sabbath asks if he wants to learn how to like it- he never learns how to like
it
He blasphemes on the train-says he doesn’t believe in Jesus-acts of open rebellion-
feels power-but nobody else is impressed by his rebellion
Tragedy of people who have grown up as secular humanists- need religious guilt to
enjoy life
To rebel against something need to believe it has power and authority over him
They dismiss him as a crank on the train-nobody cares if he believes or not
No response from passer-by's on the streets wither
Saying nothing matters has no impact on them
For them religion and spirituality are not the pressing issues they are for Hazel- he is
not a wild figure for them
The blasphemy of the church without a Christ is lost on his landlady-protestant?
He says only way to church is through blasphemy
His preaching is primarily for himself
Blasphemes for an audience of 1 pg. 69
Nothing matters but that Jesus don’t exist- no transcendent reality because that
which is wholly other does not exist
God is a trick
Despite individualistic and atheistic prose- he seems incapable of fooling anyway-
always struggling with god on his mind
I could hear the urge for Jesus in his voice…
Everyone takes him for a preacher-that hat looks like a preacher’s hat
Struggle with the wild figure in his mind turns violent- binds him more tightly to the
figure
Sol- persecutor of Christians blinded by god- wrote one book of new testament
Archetype of rebirth- born again in his Christian identity
Parallel-both 1st century Christians and Solace Layfield killed because from point of
view of their killers they are not true and not Jesus
When Hazel murders Layfield- he kills double of himself-preacher and same physical
appearance- preaching same message
Views himself from outside himself seeing himself as other see him
Symbolic kenosis begins after murder of solace
Hat has been tied throughout novel to role of preacher- solace hat
His accusation-you ain't true- may just as well be made against himself
He then gives up idea of preaching and blasphemy as way to truth
Tells attendant at gas station that he had only just believed in blasphemy as way to
salvation
But couldn’t believe in that either because you still have to believe in something to
believe in blasphemy
The one who makes fun of gay people is the one who is the most secure about his
own sexuality
Those who have religious sensibility don’t regard- in order to be blasphemer you must
have investment in what you are reacting against
Last attempt to avoid ragged figure in his mind is to leave- after watching as his car
is killed he stands and watches- his face represented entire distance that extended
from his eyes…into space
Hazel is blinded-but unlike sol he blinds himself and its permanent
Turns his violence inward-directs it inward instead of others-kenosis
Behavior becomes odder than usual after his self-inflicted blindness
Says he doesn’t have time to preach pg. 221
Walked as though his feet hurt him but he had to go on
Discovered his shoes are full of stuff to hurt him
Says he does this “to pay”
He sleeps with barbed wire around his chest and says “I'm not clean”
Complete reversal of his stance from before when he said he was clean-if Jesus
existed I wouldn't be clean
Can his insistence that he is unclean be read as an indication that he believes in
Jesus now? or that he just believes in something gnosis or something else?
What he sees with his bottomless eyes…
Goal is to find the truth
The truth cannot be pursued externally though, can only be pursued internally
The uncleanness of having valued self over that wild ragged figure
Removes himself from world of icons and conventional religion
In removing him from these things he takes the first steps towards emptying out his
false self
Gnostic god entirely separate from creative world- cannot be seen with eyes of
everyday vision
Can only be seen with the blind deep vision…
Religious taboos
Social taboos
Sexual taboos
All broken
Through these sins he gets to a place where in himself right now is all the place he’s
got
Reaching this place of self he then inflicts
Does he follow the wild ragged figure? The reader has no idea what he reaches-
where if anywhere he arrives
Individuation is the process by which a person becomes the definite unique being he
is
By killing Layfield he is killing his own persona
By blinding himself he turns to the wild ragged figure
Emptying of false self and removal of mask that constitutes persona
He has spent his entire life running from that which he says he does not believe
Demented argument
Antinomian approach to life-if there are no real laws- gnostic libertine strand
Strange argument
A good man is hard to find
With niceness of grandmother lives racist bigotry as well
Wife, baby, kids, husband are all bad
Grandma didn’t wanna go to Florida
Chekov’s gun…
If a criminal is alose you can tell he will have some intersection with this family
Reader is distanced from family- no impulse to identify with any characters
They are not the others who might be us
Everyone stained with corruption
Barbecue guy victim of his own goodness- portrays himself that way
Misfit is the reminder of death
Racial slurs in the book always come from the characters not the narrator
Attempts at humor betray racism as well
Using patitudes as methods of characterisation- charicatures- the grandma and Sammy
always talking about how bad things are- characterization
Everything just getting bad
Eddy green song- a good man is hard to find- doesn’t really have much to do with this tho
Grandmother recalls plantation-lies-but it unleashes fatal consequences that in no way
match her crime or sin
Lets the cat out of the bag-literally
Everything is chance- must be mindful of death in this world
nobody killed in accident
if you encounter psychotic killer best not to tell him you know who he is
but grandmother recognizes the misfit
the misfit knows he isn’t a good man- different from the grandmother
misfit symbolically becomes grandmothers son- changes shirt
either making the leap to faith- or accepting position that if there is no principle of grace in
universe might as well do whatever you feel like
“I know you come from nice people”
there was never a body that gave the undertaker a tip
jesus shouldn’t have raised the dead-threw off the balance
grandmothers maternal gesture provokes homicidal response
comedy and horror merge together
must be misfit with social world in order to fit into religious world
clash between secular grandmother and religious misfit and author
what we get is double perspective- literal and ironic meaning
conventional platitude coexists with religious illusions
divine is obstructive force-breaks and shatters illusion and complacency
you cannot be redeemed without being killed
instead of breaking down language to demonstrate meaningless like Faulkner- uses comedy
and horror to break down reader’s ways of seeing the world
many ways to scramble up reality
altering reader’s mode of perception to make it be not automatic but be prolonged
defamiliarizing tactics reveal something…
misfit’s perception of lack of order and justice more in accordance with the way things are
than the grandmother’s belief in conventional order and religion
grandmother’s perception that people just aren’t as nice as they once were- is as primitive
as her perception of what a good person is
imitating virgin mary
misfit is psychotic Christ figure
we don’t have to accept o’connor’s version of authenticity
can read this as an existential fable- look at hideger as your source
story is trying to shock the hell out of you- on simplistic level
only truth is that there is not truth- so might as well continue on nihilistic path
grandmothers moment of grace comes when she says he is one of her children
she realizes in her limited way that she is responsible for the man before her-kinship has
roots deep in mystery which she has been praddling about so far
price of being a good man or good woman is living with awareness of death- realizing
mortality
if that’s what it takes then a good person is really hard to find
cat in the rain and hills like white elephants- signs and symbols- read these next!
Lecture 32
Monday, February 13, 2017 1:47 PM

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Description
Lecture 32 Monday, February 13, 2017 1:47 PM Wise Blood Hayes car journey, home, church, shelter from terrors of space Gives up mission of blasphemy when car leaves He comes face to face with emptiness in him and in landscape But not here must impose moral coherence not clear what revelation if any is given to him Land lady speech but not something he experiences He has nightmares but no gnostic vision to confront them Turns wholly inward in his blindness and seeks death Must confront reality of nothing that has only been abstraction from this point Faint hint that maybe he sense something more something beyond material dimension Places everything on a wager that there may be something more Repentance to the nothing declares himself clean becomes other worldly figure Landlady reflecting device who reveals spiritual significance of hazes phase Epitomizes worldliness he encounters everywhere She is moral relativist His end rejection of secularized age but also of life taken through the senses at all in a world of matter By end of novel chasm between inner and outer spirit is absolute between Hayes and milieu of novel no genuine point of contact Warped sexuality or lack of refusal of physicality lack of selfknowledge mutilations all make him an easy object of disgusted laughter Just has sex to show that sin is not a category that is going to affect his behaviour Iking it is not part of his aesthetic realm He just does it to show sin is not a thing no ramifications Present extremes Enoch or Hayes monkey or munkeryimmersion in repellent world of matter or grotesque search for god World is not book of god god entirely separate in this novel God that appears in this novel not imminent in nature At its core this is a gnostic book No sacramental overtones to the description of nature Imagery of animals objects and machines epitomizes without transcending Honest look that fitted to his face like a set of false teeth Its right to steal from the government because they support all these people One armed Christian serves on act of charity in world or repulsion doesnt charge him for gas Question that persists what if anything does Hayes see? Transcend? A fornicating, blaspheming, murdering, atheist who dedicates himself to preaching
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