[percy-l] Janet Cantor begins the last of the slow read of The Second Coming Pages 251 to the end
honeyjbc at gmail.com
Tue Sep 13 21:10:06 EDT 2016
This is a chock full part of the book. So I am skipping around. You can
choose the things you wish to highlight. But do join me in this sendoff of
the slow read.
Now we shall wind up dealing with this fairy tale of sweetness.
Percy often talks about how we conduct ourselves on an ordinary four
o'clock on a Thursday afternoon. Are we drifting or does our life have
meaning? The idea can be compared to how do we behave when no one is
So when on Page 258 Allie asks herself if [loving is a filling of the four
o'clock gap or is it more], this is her way of trying to make sense out of
this new feeling of excitement because the man is back. To date, her whole
life is a kind of four o'clock in the afternoon gap.
We return to this on pages 354 and 355 as Will interrupts his dealing to
be able to get back to Allie at four o'clock.
As the idea emerges of Will pleasing Kitty by taking on becoming Allie's
guardian, concomitant with our knowledge that Kitty isn't yet aware of
Will's already knowing and liking Allie, when she asks him to do this, the
reader is waiting for the explosion when she finds out.
Will broaches the subject with Allison. Allie begins using expressions she
has become familiar with from people in her life before. "Oh, my stars yes"
Aunt Grace, and"Are my parents out to screw me?" comes from her friend from
the home, Kelso.
I loved when Allie thought that, "I can talk like anybody else but not like
me." Page 261. She is not really born again yet.
Page 263 is one of the loveliest of the book. Allie is becoming sexually
awakened and her language becomes oh, boy almond joy. Walker is at his
endearing language bending best. You really believe this woman exists with
her goofy mangled expressions.
And Will makes the glorious observation (Sutter being marginally insane and
seeing all things negatively) "You're Sutter turned happy." Will, the
tourist in his own life, the wayfarer seeking answers, the successful
appearing human being, but lost soul who likes to do good for others to try
to give his life meaning, meets up with the tabula rasa Allie and she
becomes Sutter turned happy. The reader gets a delicious reward for hanging
in while this story unfolds.And the end of this page is so adorable it
hurts. They are a perfect physical fit and he is the lid for her pot.
Now another memory of his father. Choose death or life? A mention of Ross
Alexander being dead and Groucho Marx being alive ends page 269. Alexander
was a suicide by gunshot. Marx is the playful with language entertainer. A
hint about what Will is going to choose for his life?
Will muses on his death, did he defeat it for now or is it what he really
loves? If it comes, then he will know, won't he? He will get his answer.
He muses that not to know the name of his enemy is already to be killed by
him. But he figures out that the 20th century is the one with the love of
dancing in the rain, literally, he is happy; he now knows the name of his
As he carries on in the rain thinking through this discovery, the question
emerges who could decipher which is the one who came from the mental
hospital and which is the solidest citizen of the community.
I would like others to take on pages 272 to 274 with their negative
Will goes to sleep.
Then we find this, in the middle of page 275 from a memory in a dream as he
sits in a field, "She found him there in the in the cool darkness watching
reflections of light playing against the damp masonry..."
Aha, another reflection of light. Percy uses this repeatedly. It is not an
accident of repetitiveness or poor editing. It is deliberate. After pages
of somber, depressing reflections, we get this small phrase. Is it, as Jay
Tolson suggested to me, that Percy wants us not to forget that we exist
under the reflected light of G-d's glory? Is this what Percy wants us to be
reminded to remember? It shows up often enough in this section, - page 288
- The sun rested on the rim of the gorge like a copper plate on a shelf -
page 297 - ...there grew a single gold poplar which caught the sun like a
yellow haired girl coming out of the forest - just two examples. I see
these things as G-d, love coming to Will to save him. He fell out of that
cave where he went to look for answers and found one. The best one.
And while we are talking about repetitions, there are those crow's feet
which seem to constantly fascinate Percy. Page 283 - Kitty is talking to
Will about her plans for Allie and "For the first time the merry Polly
Bergen wrinkles at the corner of her eyes ironed out showing white."
Page 276 - The Jews. They never have a home, always wandering, so one place
was the same as another and the Jew is able to feel at home anywhere. Will
can belong wherever he chooses yet he doesn't feel at home anywhere (yet).
On page 312 - We have another dung eater.A reminder of the beginning of The
Page 328 - The innocence of The Blue Lagoon only told in Percy's original
best and the end of this page to the end of the next page are perfect.
Pages 346 and 347 - Will uses people missing parts but talented in the
right areas who will cobble together a crew of hard workers and they will
help Allison run her many greenhouses thus currently useless people will
become useful and Allison will be able to run a successful business and all
will be well. Remember this is a fairy tale. But it fills all of the best
enjoyment needs of the reader.
Orderlies give hope to a patient and it makes Will ask if goodness comes
tricked out as fakery and fondness and is G-d himself that sly.
The book ends with Will knowing what he wants and he will go after it. His
name is the right one for him at last.
For Percy readers we again confront his major theme. First think of someone
and care for someone and that will open you up to receive G-d's grace. Love
of sweet innocent Allie, someone new for Will to save and take care of,
will set them on the path. What a beautiful book to read.
Page 252 - Allie renarks to herself, "How good life must be once you get
the hang of it..."
Page 253 - What if they got married, she fantasized. A winding up, a
polishing off. In short, stuck like her mother and father. But later
marriage will be a pleasure with Will, one that she longs for.
Page 289 - When the vagabond Will sinks into his hot bath, he wonders if
happiness is no more than having something you've done without for a long
Page 355 - in a section with lots of talk about eyes, seeing things
differently, Will tells Allie,"..."I love to sit and watch your eyes, which
see everything exactly as it is..."
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