[percy-l] Walker Percy's Theory of Hurricanes

Karl M. Terrell kterrell at stokeswagner.com
Sun Aug 9 19:41:57 EDT 2015

I believe it was Percy's "hurricane" observation that so captured me so many years ago.  Isaacson ably presents this by his use of quotes from the tale of our hero and Midge, upon taking shelter in a Connecticut diner during a hurricane:

"Midge and the counterman were very happy.  The hurricane blew away the sad, noxious particles which befoul the sorrowful old Eastern sky and Midge no longer felt obligated to keep her face stiff.  They were able to talk."

What speaks to me in this, as a Southerner, is that the malaise Percy addressed, so common to us all, is nowhere more pronounced than it is, here, in benighted Dixie (and I speak not just of Percy's time in Dixie, or even the Dixie of W. J. Cash, or the Dixie of the 80 years preceding the both of them, but in the Dixie found even today in places like Spartanburg and the suburbs of Atlanta).  It is the malaise of a society once defeated, of a society shamed, of a society which has yet to find its way -- even as it manages to sell Tea Party notions to folks in places like Kansas, San Diego, and the suburbs of Minneapolis.

And so, when Percy presents the momentary joy of ironic escape, we know the joy of which he speaks.

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 4, 2015, at 10:04 AM, Henry Mills <wppdirector at gmail.com<mailto:wppdirector at gmail.com>> wrote:

Dear Percy-L:

An essay of interest with reflections on Katrina and New Orleans by Walter Isaacson, recent biographer of Steve Jobs.

Henry Mills
Percy-L Administrator

New York Times - Sunday Book Review
Aug. 4, 2015

Walker Percy's Theory of Hurricanes
by Walter Isaacson

Walker Percy had a theory about hurricanes. "Though science taught that good environments were better than bad environments, it appeared to him that the opposite was the case," he wrote of Will Barrett, the semi-autobiographical title character of his second novel, "The Last Gentleman." "Take hurricanes, for example, certainly a bad environment if ever there was one. It was his impression that not just he but other people felt better in hurricanes." . . .

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