June, 2017: Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

(Book #86) I have to preface this email rant with the fact that I love Flannery O’Connor’s writing. I adored both Everything That Rises Must Converge and A Good Man is Hard to Find.  But her novel, Wise Blood was just so foreign to me, I couldn’t relate at all — it was an absurdist piece and I was lost. This email was my summary of the evening:

June 19.2017

Two weeks ago, friends, I was in despair. I was miserable and lonesome and sick, friends. I realized I’d read a book that was just about the most miserable and lonesome thing that can happen to a man or a woman! I was ready to hang myself or despair completely. But that was before I met the Prophet Christine or heard how she was out to help me, how she was preaching the Church of Books Without Books But With the Saving Grace of Damn Good Food. She helped me to bring my despair over the dark comic psychopathy I’d been forced to read and put it out into the open where everybody could offer accord. And she did it with the power of the new jesus, corn salad. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I want to testify to this new church and the Prophet Christine. In the first course, friends, it starts with wine, crackers and three cheeses from the book of Stampers. You can rely on this cheese, it’s nothing foreign connected with it. You don’t have to nibble on nothing you don’t understand and approve of. The second reason why you can absolutely trust this church — it’s based on Cook Books — it’s based on you own personal interpretation of the recipes found in the books — recipes for crispy chicken, green salad, bruchetta, and yes, friends, some kind of corn salad with so many good things mixed up in it, you will feel the exaltation of it push the despair away — push it right off your plate. 

That ought to be enough reasons friends, but I’m going to tell you one more, just to show I can. Southern Comfort Cake, cake with the comfort of the South baked right into and poured into the icing too — a religious experience like no other. I never heard an idea that had more in it than the one for that cake.  Here’s the best part — if you send the Prophet one dollar, just ten dimes, she will tell you the secret of the crispy chicken and how you can make the corn salad your personal saviour. 

I’ve got to go now friends, but don’t forget to send that dollar or ten, twenty, whatever you have handy to get the recipe for your new life. Your life will be a celebration and you will spend your days in thankful gratitude for the Prophet of the Darn Good Food.

We talked about how strange the book seemed to all of us and then we took that darned quiz:

Wise Blood QUIZ

The movie starts with Hazel Motes wearing his service uniform and hitching a ride.  He is picked up by a man driving a truck.  How does the book start.

  1. Hazel is hitchhiking but no one stops for him.
  2. Hazel is on his way to the train station to go to Taulkinham.
  3. Hazel is on the train to Taulkinham.
  4. Hazel has just been thrown off the train because of an altercation with the porter.

n the movie, Haze buys a car from Slate and pays $225 for it.  What did he pay in the book?

  1. He didn’t buy a car in the book.
  2. He paid $40 for the car and extra for gas.
  3. He paid $140 for the car and it came with a full tank of gas.
  4. He paid $225 just as in the movie.

In the movie, Haze finds Enoch at the zoo yelling at the monkeys. Where does Haze find Enoch in the book?

  1. He is by the monkey cages as in the movie.
  2. In the MVSEVM.
  3. At his booth by the zoo gate.
  4. Near the pool/bath house.

In the movie Enoch gets in the car with Haze to help him find where Hawks and his daughter live.  Does he do that in the book.

  1. Yes, but he cant find it.
  2. No, because Haze made him mad when he wasn’t interested in the mummy at the museum.
  3. No, because Haze hit him in the forehead with a rock and knocked him out.
  4. No, because he didn’t know where they lived.

In the movie Haze wears the same black hat throughout.  Is that true of the book?

  1. No, his first hat is black and is destroyed by Leora.  He buys a white one to replace it.
  2. No, his first black hat is destroyed by Leora and he buys one exactly like it to replace it.
  3. No, after his black hat is destroyed by Sabbath, he buys a white one to replace it.
  4. Yes, he wears the same black hat throughout.

Bonus Question #1:  Where did the train porter say he was from?

Bonus Question #2: What color was Haze’s Essex?

Bonus Question #3: (the pet question) What famous hand did Enoch stand in line to shake?

Bonus Question #4 What did Haze use to blind himself?

A favorite quote: “I’m a member and preacher to that church where the blind don’t see and the lame don’t walk and what’s dead stays that way.”