[percy-l] The Moviegoer elem ed

Gray, Rich RGray at montreat.edu
Sat May 13 20:09:11 EDT 2006

The Moviegoer definitely surprises readers who expect a plot-driven novel.  These readers can enjoy satire and philosophical reflection, if the ideas adhere to the skeleton of a suspenseful story.  Moviegoer, lacking such a plot of rising action-climax-falling action, substitutes Binx's monolog.  I like to think of this style of writing as prose-poetry.  What stands out artisticallyf or me is the poetry of Binx describing his life at a philosophical turning point.  The half-page passages of eloquent, terse, metaphoric strikes me like a Robert Browning dramatic monolog.  

Students may like learning Kierkegaard's three modes of belief: aesthetic, ethical, and religious (Binx pursuing Sharon, Aunt Emily lecturing Binx, and Binx contemplating the search).  An earlier post mentioned using in class a few Percy essays.  I like that approach, as Percy had huge success as an essayist--one of America's most articulate novelists, both in essay and interview.  Percy didn't just blab -- he used essay and interview as artistic modes, in support of his novel-writing.  

This is a fruitful string of posts.  Moviegoer is a top ten novel in the post WWII era, and we have the opportunity of introducing Moviegoer to a new generation of readers.

Rich Gray

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