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Flannery O’Connor’s first novel Wise Blood follows the story of Hazel Motes as his journey in the hostile city of Taulkinham transforms him from a defiant defector of the divine to a stoic and resigned blind prophet. For many readers, Hazel’s evolution labels him as the sole owner of wise blood in the novel, a conclusion that fails to acknowledge Enoch Emery’s obedience to his own innate wisdom. Enoch’s bumbling behavior and animalistic drive cause many O’Connor writers and scholars, such as Patrick O’Donnell and Jason C. Lee, to interpret him as little more than a comic simpleton. However, careful analysis reveals that his character is more complex and far-reaching. The wisdom that drives Enoch’s actions is not intellectual in nature but is instead based on action and result, situated within what is worldly as opposed to what is spiritual. Enoch therefore becomes Taulkinham’s mirror and guardian of hope, the only character capable of conceiving, confronting, and presenting the brokenness of the world around him. This leads Enoch to truths that others cannot see or refuse to acknowledge, and the transformation caused by obedience to his wise blood assigns him the duty of leading others to see these distasteful truths.



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