Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Inverse Images

No, there are not many mirrors in Wise Blood, but there are characters and details that are like mirror images. The one is almost just like the other, but the other is the opposite of the first. This aspect of the story begins with Haze’s memories of his grandfather. Haze was the exact image of his grandfather and everyone he met asked him if he was a preacher. His grandfather was an evangelist and preacher. Haze wanted to prove everyone wrong. Strangely enough however, he did claim he was a preacher, but he preached a very different message than his grandfather.

His grandfather urged for the repentance of sin. Haze however, preached a message oozing with post modernity, there is no sin, no truth, nothing outside of you of any significance. Later Haze bought a new hat a white one instead of the black one that reminded him so much of his grandfather.

Haze and his grandfather are not the only mirroring images a close reader will notice. In chapter seven when Haze and Sabbath are stuck out by the field they come to a gas station with a large cage that says, “TWO DEADLY ENEMIES. HAVE A LOOK FREE” (71). In the cage there was a bear with one eye and a bird with a part of his tail gone. The one eye of the bear is similar to Hawks who had one eye that was smaller than the other. Interestingly, the only person at the gas station that was there to help was a man with only one working arm. What is the significance of these little details?

Finally, at the end the reader comes upon the ultimate mirror image in the book. Mr. Shoats (otherwise known as Holy) employs a man who looks just like Haze. In order to compete with Haze, he dresses this man up to look just like Haze. In the end, Haze kills his mirror image. Did Haze kill the man simply because he was threatened and angered by his competition or was there a deeper significance to the action?

Parallel details, images and even characters seem to be a theme in Wise Blood. I wonder what we might discover about O'Connor's writing as we finish up our first work of the semester. 

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