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"This Link between Narrative and Reality": Weighing the Ethics and Implications of Trauma in The Moviegoer

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Since its 1961 publication, Walker Percy's seminal novel The Moviegoer has primarily received critical attention in the form of either biographical criticism or allegorical interpretation. Problematically, however, in seeking to reconcile the imaginative work of his fiction with Percy's philosophical and theological commitments--and with the novel's moral and polemical objectives--these methods inevitably produce misreadings and even misrepresentations of the text. By contrast, this study prioritizes an unbiased examination of The Moviegoer that combines close reading with a neoteric critical approach utilizing contemporary trauma theory. Rooted in a series of striking correlations between Percy's writing and the major tenets of trauma studies, this reading promotes comprehensive, straightforward engagements with the novel even as it facilitates productive forms of intertextuality and invites additional critical innovations. As it broaches larger questions regarding the ethics of reading, literature's role in society, and the nature of individual identity versus interpersonal community, moreover, this dialogic reading of literature and theory also weighs Percy's ethical designs as a novelist against the important human truths that emerge from the story of trauma. In so doing, this thesis strives to foreground literature's capacity as an active agent--and to consider how the act of reading provides a model for our relations to each other and to the world.
ethics of reading
postcolonial theory
poststructural theory
The Moviegoer
Walker Percy
Baker, Rebecca W. (author)
Franco, Dean J (committee chair)
Moss, William M (committee member)
Maine, Barry G (committee member)
2013-01-09T09:35:18Z (accessioned)
2012 (issued)
English (discipline)
10000-01-01 (liftdate)
forever (terms)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/37666 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University
"This Link between Narrative and Reality": Weighing the Ethics and Implications of Trauma in The Moviegoer

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