Now, to the novel. Chapter 3 opens with a dark sky, setting
the tone for the upcoming scene. As Hazel is walking in downtown Taulkinham, he
notices a man selling potato peelers is drawing a small crowd, so he looks on,
observing. The salesman attracts the attention of a young boy named Enoch
Emery. Enoch, whose name alludes to the book of Genesis, is a perky, outgoing
eighteen-year-old with a “friendly hound dog” look, a direct contrast to Hazel’s
character. Also, in the crowd, is a man by the name of Asa Hawks and his child
Sabbath Lily. Asa Hawks is a “blind” preacher who goes around begging for money,
and, in return, gives people the gift of redemption through Jesus Christ. When
Hazel is handed a pamphlet by Sabbath Lily that says “Jesus Calls You,” he rips
it up, signifying his denial of religion and Jesus Christ as a whole. After this
incident, Hazel attempts to rub off his “sticky hands” caused by religious guilt.
Enoch ends up following Hazel and we learn that, although
these two characters seem completely different, they are alike in the respect that
they both seek some kind of connection. For Hazel, it’s a spiritual matter, but
for Enoch, it’s physical. Enoch longs for a friend. This explains why he
attempts to confide in Hazel. Enoch ends up following Hazel who is following Asa
Hawks. By following Hawks, Hazel’s determination to find spiritual truth is presented.
The title of the
book comes into play through Enoch, providing a deeper importance to his character.
On page 55, Enoch tells Hazel, “‘You act like you think you got wiser blood
than anybody else,’ he said, ‘but you ain’t! I’m the one has it. Not you. Me.’” This is some major foreshadowing
for what is to come later in the novel.
In the beginning of chapter 4, Haze wakes up from another
night with Mrs. Watts and decides that he wants to buy a car. That’s pretty
random if you ask me. I guess if you’re on a quest to find inner peace it would
be more efficient with faster means of transportation. Haze goes to a local used
car dealership and asks how much for a raggedy, beat-up car called the Essex. The
dealer tells him that it is worth Jesus on the cross, meaning that it will cost
Hazel his soul to Jesus in order to buy the car. Hazel immediately begins
negotiating the price, finding the request of the dealer completely absurd and
annoying. Haze ends up buying the car, forming a connection between it and his spirituality.
Like the car, Haze’s spirit is broken and worn, in a great state of turmoil.
Chapter 5 opens with the infamous grotesqueness of O’Connor.
Enoch wakes up to a feeling in his blood
that someone is coming, and he is going to show this someone whatever it is
that he has to show them. The ambiguity of the opening of this chapter drew my
attention like a moth to a flame. Hazel is the someone. An artifact of a three-foot-long
man in a glass case at the zoo museum was what Enoch has to show him. Of all things,
why that? It is so preposterous that it is almost comical. Hazel, still on his spiritual
expedition, comes to the zoo to ask Enoch the address of Asa Hawks, but Enoch
refuses to give Haze the address until he sees the shrunken man. Enoch is compelled
by something in his blood to show Haze the man. Why, though, is beyond me. On their
way to the museum, they pass a multitude of animals in large cages. Enoch despises
all of them, and Hazel does not look into one single cage, except the last one
that appears to empty; however, the cage contains an owl showing only one eye.
I believe this eye to be the Eye of God, watching over Hazel as much as he rejects
it. “‘I AM clean,’” Hazel says to the Eye. In doing so, Hazel is talking to God
directly, telling Him that he is without Jesus, clean of sin. Haze ends up
seeing the short, ancient man, gets fed up with Enoch, throws a rock at him,
and takes off to find Asa and Sabbath Lily.
While searching for the duo, Hazel parks in front of crowded
shows to stand on top of his car and “preach” about his newfound church, the Church
Without Christ. Hazel deems himself a preacher, sharing the similarity with his
grandfather. When Haze finds the two, he attempts to provoke a spirit of empathy
in Asa for his lack of belief, but Asa shows no interest in him. Once Haze leaves,
Asa, the blind preacher, takes off
his glasses to watch Hazel through
the window. This makes Asa a sort of false prophet, seeing as Hazel looks to
him for some kind of religious truth. After his failed mission, Haze conjures
up a plan to seduce Sabbath (gross) in order to evoke the Christianity in Asa
and exemplify his unchristian-like behavior.