Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Wayfarer and a Pilgrim

But since it seems appropriate to say a word about The Moviegoer, it is perhaps not too farfetched to compare it in one respect with the science of pathology. Its posture is the posture of the pathologist with his suspicion that something is wrong. There is time for me to say only this: that the pathology in this case has to do with the loss of individuality and the loss of identity at the very time when words like the "dignity of the individual" and "self-realization" are being heard more frequently than ever. Yet the patient is not mortally ill. On the contrary, it speaks well for the national health that pathologists of one sort and another are tolerated and even encouraged.

In short, the book attempts a modest restatement of the Judeo-Christian notion that man is more than an organism in an environment, more than an integrated personality, more even than a mature and creative individual, as the phrase goes. He is a wayfarer and a pilgrim.

Walker Percy
Accepting the National Book Award
for The Moviegoer, 1962

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