Alienation in Wise Blood

Alienation in Wise Blood



Zahra Kamdideh


Presentation: 11:30-12:00, Roesch Library Collab Space



This research paper explores the theme of alienation in Flannery O'Connor's novel Wise Blood through an analysis of the main characters Hazel Motes and Enoch Emery. The theoretical framework draws upon Herbert Marcuse's concepts of alienation in industrial society. The study aims to analyze how the characters in Wise Blood exemplify varying dimensions of alienation from society as well as the self. The paper provides background on the novel's post-World War II southern United States setting and how societal changes contributed to feelings of disconnection. It then delves into Marcuse's definition of alienation as estrangement from one's true self due to societal oppression and repression. Through close analysis of the two main characters, the paper explores how Hazel and Enoch each experience forms of religious, social, and existential alienation. Examples are provided of Enoch's social rejection, identity crisis, and escape into fantasy. Overall, this literary analysis aims to contribute additional perspective to scholarship on alienation in literature. It demonstrates O'Connor's skillful blending of psychological, philosophical, and religious themes to create enduring portraits of isolation and the search for meaning.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Andy Slade, Tereza M. Szeghi, Thomas A. Wendorf

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Alienation in Wise Blood