Flannery O’ Connor stands as one of the few people to write in Southern Gothic Style, and also is one of the few authors that creates characters as grotesque. She makes her stories with flawed characters that are filled with elements of the grotesque to show that there are boundaries between the normal and the abnormal, to ultimately lead each reader to conclude something about morality.
Wise blood is a perfect illustration of how Flannery O’Connor’s uses her unique style of writing.
Synopsis of Wise Blood
Wise Blood is a story about Hazel Motes, who is a 22 year-old who is struggling with his faith. A street preacher named Asa Hawks later puts a spell on Hazel Motes, and as a result Hazel Motes founds The Church of God Without Christ as an act of his non-faith disposition. He meets Enoch Emery, a young guy who has “wise blood,” as the book calls it, who leads Hazel Motes to a mummified holy child.
Later, Hazel starts preaching for people to not believe in Jesus, but to join his church instead. He also falls for Lily Sabbath, Asa Hawks’s 15 year old daughter…..
As the story ends, Hazel Motes finds himself alone and has ultimately become the blind preacher himself (Asa Hawks), as Hazel Motes wears dark sunglasses and puts rocks in his shoes everyday until his death.
Synopsis of Revelation
The book starts out with Ruby Turpin waiting in the hospital. As she waits she judges and categorizes the other people in the hospital. Mary Grace, a obese girl with acne at the hospital, later throws a book at her entitled Human Development. Mary Grace later calls her a warthog and tells her to go back to hell where she came from, after throwing the book at Mrs. Turpin. Later, at home, Mrs. Turpin is deeply shaken by the message, and asks God for council concerning the matter. His answer comes in the form of a vision of people marching to Heaven, a procession led by all the people she has most held in contempt. And later sees the vision as a sign of mercy from God, concerning the situation.
Using the Grotesque
The characters in Flannery O’ Connors Wise Blood and Revelation are ultimately flawed characters that we can all relate to. She uses each character flaw for the sole purpose of leading each reader to the ultimate good. For example, in O’ Connor’s story Revelation, she uses the grotesque character Mrs. Turpin, who is judgmental towards other people and has self righteous attitude, to point the reader to the good, which is Mrs. Turpin later being humbled. She also does this in Wise Blood, as Hazel Motes struggles and runs from his faith, which ultimately leads Hazel Motes to his ruin, as he is left alone at the end of the book. O’Connor also uses this same principle of the grotesque in her other story Good Country People, by showing Joy Hopewell’s many flaws. This leads the reader to focus on the good characters in her story like Mrs. Hopewell, who is, ‘a woman of great patience.’