Haze's Ironic Spiritual Journey In The Hound Of Heaven

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Hazel Motes could say, like the speaker in Francis Thompson’s poem “The Hound of Heaven,” “I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;/ I fled Him, down the arches of the years;/ I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways/ Of my own mind” (“Hound” lns. 1-4). This novel depicts Haze’s ironic spiritual journey as he runs as rapidly and as relentlessly away from Jesus as he possibly can only to run directly into the arms of the one from whom he ran so vigorously. The soul devourer, whom the young Haze learned to fear from his fundamentalist preacher grandfather, is the sole desire of the adult Haze (Eggenschwiler 103). The immoral Sabbath Lily witnesses to this desire indicating that when she first saw him, she knew he “didn’t want nothing but…show more content…
Solace was the paid prophet of Ollie Jay Holy, also known as Hoover Shoats. Shoats, was a huckster who used religion and Solace to make money. Solace paid Shoats to serve as a “Prophet” for three dollars a night. The fact that he was a fake who was similar in looks to himself infuriated Haze. Haze announces that there are two things that he hates, “a man that ain’t true and one that mocks what is” (O’Connor, Wise Blood 115). Haze’s understanding of the meaning of religion was that a person was either entirely committed one way or the other; an individual had the choice of being for Jesus or against him, and no other choice existed. Haze interprets literally the words of Jesus, “Anyone who is not for me is really against me; anyone who does not help me gather is really scattering” (Mat. 12:30 GNB). Solace had been a believer, as evidenced by his calling on Jesus as he is dying, but preached the opposite and Haze cannot stand such hypocritical duplicity (114-15). Haze had rejected Onnie Jay’s offer and hated him for his part in the hypocrisy and fraud of preaching without believing his own…show more content…
To believe in blasphemy, one had to believe in someone capable of being blasphemed (O’Connor, Wise Blood 116, 86). Ironically, his belief in blasphemy was testimony to his belief in Jesus, even while he was strenuously denying Christ’s existence. He found himself to be the same kind of deceptive hypocrite that he had just run over and killed. After an encounter with a police officer, Haze made a fateful decision. He would become what Asa Hawkes had feigned: a person who had blinded himself for Jesus. After this self-destructive act, Haze no longer preaches because he claims he does not “have time” (125). His time is now spent sitting, walking, and thinking. He spends his days and nights in penance for his past sins and his years of trying to escape the Inescapable One. The “gravel and broken glass and pieces of small stone” in his shoes are painful remembrancers that demonstrate the intensity and authenticity of his repentance (125). The barbed wire around his chest serves a similar purpose. What Haze had feared about following Jesus, the loss of himself and of everything in the world, became his reality. He no longer cared about money and even threw it in the garbage because it was “extra” for which he had no need (124). Like the Biblical Job who realized, after repeated protestations to the contrary, that he was unclean and repented in

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