The Heart of the Park


Painting by Georges-Eugene Haussmann

This short story, was definitely incorporated into O’Connor’s novel, Wise Blood (and so was ‘The Peeler,’ I believe). This story is about a young man, Enoch Emery, who works at a city park. He must show someone something at the center of the park – his blood tells him that he needs to show someone this (to be revealed at the end of the short story). Hazel Weaver shows up to the park where, after he gets of off work, Enoch is watching people swim. Hazel keeps asking for a woman’s address (she has two young boys). We get the impression that Hazel has murdered someone. Enoch says that he will give Hazel the address if he will come with him to show him the ‘something’ (Enoch doesn’t actually know the address). The story ends with Hazel running out of the museum where there is a body that was shrunk by Arabs (perhaps some type of torture?). Enoch chases him, and he ends up with blood oozing out of his head in the center of the park.

What stood out most in this short story to me was Hazel’s repetition of the line “I ain’t clean” (3 times – pp. 89, 91) after Maude, the worker at the soda shop, claims that Hazel is a clean man.


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