Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Loss of the Creature, Walker Percy, detailed commentary

I think the essay "The Loss of the Creature" by Walker Percy (from the book The Message in the Bottle) is well worth reading and thinking about. In this post I offer a detailed, paragraph-by-paragraph commentary of the essay. This post isn't really meant to be read from beginning to end (if you try that, it may get repetitive). It's meant more as a set of detailed footnotes for people who find the essay to be confusing. The way to follow this post is to print off Percy's essay, then number the paragraphs. By my numbering, there are 38 paragraphs in section I, and 24 paragraphs in section II (starting with #39, ending with #62). When reading, if you get stuck on a paragraph, look it up here, and maybe my comments will make it more clear (hopefully they won't make it even more confusing). For a more personalized discussion, please leave a comment. I'm well aware of the irony of writing an analysis of this essay as though I expect people to experience the essay through my interpretation (exactly opposite to how the essay encourages us to experience the world). I would encourage you to not think of my commentary as authoritative, but maybe just as a spark for your own thought.

(This is a work in progress, I got about half way through and then set it aside. It's been sitting unfinished for long enough that I feel I might as well just publish what I have. I hope to finish it eventually. In the mean time, if anybody else would like to contribute commentary for the remaining paragraphs, that would be nice.)