Sermon on the Hood of an Essex: Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood”

fcDr. Glenn Settle is a long-time friend and former colleague. He is a keen reader of literature and the world.







Flannery O’Connor‘s readers have not discussed the centrality of the Wise Blood sermon. The novel includes five dialogue sermons that may be considered as a five-part discourse, from exordium through conclusion. Full of fits and starts like Hazel’s car, the sermon is integral to the novel, even central to its action, particularly that related to Hazel’s character growth. In sermon delivery Hazel rhetorically tries out numerous belief systems. The sermon occasion thus becomes a learning experience for him. The interruption/completion of the sermon, via ghostly doubles, leads to Hazel’s apparent epiphany.

By Glenn Settle (2001): Sermon on the Hood of an Essex: Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood , Text and Performance Quarterly, 21:3, 183-201

Read the paper here: Wise Blood