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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Marshall Bruce Gentry

Abstract

Some readers regard Enoch Emery of Wise Blood as a shallow, comic, even demonic character because of his seemingly meaningless rituals, his grotesque actions, and his secular state of living. In a lecture to the NEH Summer Institute “Reconsidering Flannery O’Connor” at GCSU in July 2007, Michael Kreyling described Enoch as “obviously deranged” and “only a molecule away from becoming Dick Hickock in In Cold Blood.” Enoch actually shares qualities with many common eighteen-year-old boys and is not the disturbing character many critics claim he is. Readers too easily have overlooked Enoch’s important role in the novel, because they have not considered the potential of this character who has “wise blood”. Enoch possesses the qualities of self-knowledge, resilience, and initiative, traits that come from his wise blood. Enoch’s wise blood serves as a spiritual compass in his life and enables him to connect with and try to help others, prepare for his future as a productive adult, and overcome his difficult childhood.

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