The Cold War's Influence on Flannery O'Connor's Novel Wise Blood

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Julie Hart (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site:
Kirk Boyle

Abstract: Flannery O’Connor’s 1952 Southern gothic novel, Wise Blood, follows the story of character Hazel Motes as he attempts to create a church without Christ, yet multiple characters within the novel push Hazel further from his desires. In this paper I demonstrate the connections between this novel and what was happening in America at the time of publication. I argue how events of the time such as the Cold War influenced O’Connor’s writing. I explore how characters are symbolic of issues and threats creeping into O’Connor’s region, the South, which she uses as a synecdoche for “The American way of life”. The novel’s ambiguous ending and multiple characters’ perspectives reflect O’Connor’s own concerns of a South in need of redemption.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Flannery O'Connor, Southern Gothic, Wise Blood, Hazel Motes, Religion, Cold War

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