[percy-l] slow read of The Second Coming
jhforest at gmail.com
Sat Jul 16 11:57:04 EDT 2016
Just to put a toe in the water in our so-far-silent discussion of “The
We start on a golf course. For Walker Percy, golf courses serve as symbols
of an affluent life that has lost an interest in what Percy called “the
search” in “The Moviegoer,” his first novel.
When Will Barrett falls on the green and sees the world upside down, he
focuses on an apocalyptic cumulous cloud that makes him think of Hiroshima.
And then it crosses his mind to shoot himself.
Suicide is one of the novel’s core issues.
Will is amazed at the lengths people will go to hide from themselves the
fact that their lives are farcical. They play golf, drink, converse, laugh,
attend church services, crack jokes and “deceive themselves into believing
that things are going well.”
By the yardstick of his fellow golfers, Will is as nutty as a fruitcake,
though it’s a condition readily forgiven as Will, owner of the local
mountain, is on top of the money pile.
Lying on the fairway, Will becomes hyper-alert, aware that -- at least at
certain moments -- the brain forgets nothing: the smell of chalk dust, the
feel of hot corduroy, etc -- it’s all there. Will remembers a wedge-shaped
patch of weeds and Ethel Rosenblum in her cheerleader uniform, a girl he
wanted so badly he fell down. An earlier fall. In Second Coming, falling is
an important state to be in.
What would life have been like, Will wonders, with Ethel Rosenblum? “Would
he have been better off?” Would he be thinking about shooting himself in
All is not well with Will.
-- Jim Forest
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*The Root of War is Fear: Thomas Merton's Advice to Peacemakers:*
*Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment: *
*Saint Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins: *
*Books in print*: www.jimandnancyforest.com/books/
*Jim & Nancy web site*: www.jimandnancyforest.com
*Photo albums*: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimforest/albums
*Jim & Nancy Forest*
Kanisstraat 5 / 1811 GJ Alkmaar / The Netherlands
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