Friday, November 10, 2017

Nobody With a Good Car Needs to be Justified

Or, On Rereading O'Connor's Wise Blood after 20 years.

Something is happening to me.  Thoughts are swirling, and if I were a woman and knew that the metaphor was somewhere close to apt, I might say I was pregnant with something, something growing and kicking in my guts.  Ideas new to me, stretching out, spreading out and grabbing onto any crag or cranny that might serve as a handle, like a vine growing up and around its trellis.

I have to make sense of Hazel Motes' vision.  What was Flannery saying through him?

In no particular order:

  1. Automobiles.  They weave around, all clunkers, all "rat-colored".  Once Haze's is destroyed, he walks back to town, grabs a sack of quicklime and a bucket, and promptly puts his eyes out.  Not before he'd used to automobile as his pulpit, as a murder weapon, as a home.  The damned things sometimes won't move an inch, for slightest reason, such as when the tiny hose on the PCV valve in my Toyota burst.  Car wouldn't go.  Yet, sometimes they will go and go, like nothing can wear them down.  They hang onto life sometimes with tenacity, Haze hanging onto it, himself beaten up but undeterred, wearing out, but holding together.  Until it's over, and if I've learned one thing in this life, myself beaten up, yet holding somehow together, when it's over, it's over.  Ain't no going back.  
  2. Death.  Everywhere.  The living and the dead commingling, everyone carrying around something dead within.  My sweet Jesus, I can barely stand to enter into this world, yet I'm reasonably sure I'm living in it in this reality.  But I can't stand to see it through O'Connor's eyes, with its varnish all stripped away.  This is haunting me.  
  3. Death.  Everywhere.  No one has friends.  Everyone is out to get something off of someone, and that's the extent of their interest.  Except Haze, who is so encased in his own dogmatic vision so as to render his needs for another person just an act to further test that vision, his trysts with Leora Watts, his decision to seduce Sabbath, and then lose all interest.  He isn't driven by the typical desires.  Thing is, I'm not sure what's driving him.  Driving.  Driving.  Enoch . . . has been in Taulkinham for two months or so, and not one friend, not one person offered to shake his hand, until a man in a Gorilla suit shook his hand, and promptly told him to go to hell.  
  4. All of the children are blasphemers, and their blasphemies are hilarious.  "Jesus on the cross," the boy said, "Christ nailed." . . . "King Jesus!" Enoch whispered.  
I can't go on tonight.  I'm nauseated.  Read this in a day, and my constitution has its limits. 

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