Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

“Wise Blood”, the first full-length novel by American writer O ‘Connor, is a religious fable discussing salvation through faith. “Wise Blood” is set in The city of Taulkinham, Tennessee in the mid-20th century. The protagonist Hazel Motes tries to eradicate the influence of Jesus on him, and takes a path of spiritual disillusionment and conversion mixed with sadness and joy, which ends in failure. Hazel Motes, the protagonist, grew up in a family of village ministers and wanted to become a priest, just like his grandfather. His faith wavered during his years abroad as a soldier, and after his demobilization he tried to cast off his religious convictions. In Taulkinham, Hazel meets Hawks, a pseudo-believer who preaches-disguised as a blind man, his illegitimate daughter Lily, and an 18-year-old boy named Enoch. Hazel spoke to everyone about blasphemy as the only way to achieve truth, and publicly promoted a Protestant religion without Jesus. However, the public was indifferent to his words, and the Protestantism he preached was exploited by Hawks as a money swindler. After driving over Hawk’s fake prophet, Hazel blinded himself and fell into a gutter on a stormy night.

Sin and redemption are the most important themes in O ‘Connor’s novels. In “Wise Blood” with strong religious color, both the narrative structure of the Bible and the image of the Bible are cleverly borrowed to highlight the theme of sin and redemption. The title “Wise Blood” symbolizes original sin in the Bible, and human beings are born with sin, which is also one of the most critical kernels in the humanistic concept of the Bible. In “Wise Blood”, Hazel’s sins are realized through violence. Violence against others became a means for Hazel to rebel against God. At the same time, he blinded himself with lime, tied himself with wire, and put on shoes filled with stones. Such violence against himself became a means of self-redemption. Hazel’s physical torture meant the death of his sins, bringing him back to the faith of his childhood, and giving him grace. The two world wars completely disillusioned people’s dreams, vanity of pleasure behind the appearance of concealing the human selfish hypocrisy, empty spirit, and withered soul. These people are immersed in the mire of crime and do not know, mankind is facing an unprecedented crisis of faith. O ‘Connor wants to make those who believe that God is dead realize their own defects and sins through violence.

-Coreen C.

The Last Time I Died By Joe Nelms

Image result for the last time i diedChristian Franco and Ella Franco are brothers and sisters, but the incident of their father murdering their mother and abusing her violently before destroyed the bond between them.

It wasn’t until Christian met his wife that he first relished the reminiscent taste of love. But as time slipped bypass his crude fingers that he realized the love he gripped it too tight that his wife was escaping because it choked her from it. He was once again abandoned by his family.

Struggling to cope, he depletes himself by testing experimental medicine from a former physician that now treats dogs bred to fight. This is a tragedy of one person’s life, but he was able to collect the pieces of his mom’s death and eventually muster them together as a complete puzzle. His life then lingered between comedy and tragedy.

-April L.

The Last Time I Died by Joe Nelms is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Book Review: Taken, by David Massey

takenSix teenagers on a trip across the ocean. Four are military veterans disabled in combat. The other two are “able” sea hands to help along the way. Things are cut short when they become prisoners of war of a man called Moses Mwemba.

Rio Cruz, is one of the two “able bodied” crew that was hired to help four teenage veterans, Ash, Marcus, Charis, and Izzy, who have been disabled in combat sail around the world for charity. Even before the six start the voyage, tension starts building between Rio and the other “able bodied” crew member, Jen. The tension only grows when Rio’s fondness for Ash emerges and when she finds a hidden letter. But all the tension and strife that was building gets cut short when they are captured to become political pawns.

This was a rather strange story. Unfortunately, I found it a bit too rushed. There were also some things that I would have like have a bit more explained. It is written in a first person point of view which does limit what explained in the story. Even so the plot was interesting. It is one of the types of plot that I have not read very much of. The characters were okay. I do believed they could have been a little more developed or described but the fact that they were disabled veterans, who were determined to show that they were not helpless, made up for some of it. I some times mixed up the characters due to the lack of explanation at the beginning of the book.

One of the themes of this book does make you think a lot about what people are. This is a book I would only recommend to at least high-school or older. There is quite a bit of violence in the story and there is many themes in this book that are hard to explain and hard to understand. To give this book a rating: 5/10

This is only what I think so read it for yourself and decide.

– Sarah J., 10th grade