Walker Percy’s- The Moviegoer

The Search

In the epilogue to The Moviegoer, Binx returns again to the subject of his “search”: “As for my search, I have not the inclination to say much on the subject.” This seems a strange admission, especially given the central importance of the search to the rest of the novel. Do you think Binx declines to “say much” because he has resolved his search successfully, or has he failed in his quest for meaning? Either way, make sure that you support your interpretation with specific references to the book. In short, is there any evidence at the end of the novel that Binx has found what he was looking for?

moviegoer

Binx Bolling is quite the interesting character and one that many people can relate to. Throughout The Moviegoer, Binx is represented as a man on a “search” for life’s true meaning: “As I watched, there awoke in me an immense curiosity. I was onto something. I vowed that if I ever got out of this fix, I would pursue the search” (11). Within Percy’s novel, I felt as if Binx was on a deep quest for the real value of his own existence. He passionately expresses himself as a man who is uncertain of who he is and where he belongs. This observation of Binx basically created an atmosphere of a search more or less in “what you need.” Binx approaches his search by detaching himself from reality in which he tries to understand life by comparison of a motion picture. It’s as if Binx makes an existential sport of moviegoing which in order helps his search by looking at things from all angles, but yet, even the movies “screw it up” (22).

Binx asserts, “The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life” (21). I imagine Binx’s challenge within the novel is his constant urge to escape his everydayness because he claims his “everydayness is the enemy…” (195). He finds himself depressed and unhappy with the motions of his every day life but still can’t seem to free himself of constant despair: “Not to be on to something is to be in despair” (22). Binx seems to struggle with his search throughout the novel because of his constant failure to find his freedom from reoccurring expectations. The expectations that seem to build the malaise during his life are his Bolling family traditions, overpowering southern ideals, Aunt Emily’s lectures over the future, and even the psychological distresses with Kate; “Where there is chance of gain, there is also chance of loss. Whenever one courts great happiness, one also risks malaise.”

In the epilogue of The Moviegoer I believe Binx declines to “say much” because he has finally chosen to let go of his endless search although unsuccessful of fulfilling it (315). I think Binx realizes that his search was only holding him back from letting his life fall into place on its own rather than having failed to find the meaning. I consider Binx to be an existential man who finally came to the decision to follow the steps into his expected fate. Instead of an ongoing search for the meaning of life, Binx chooses to embrace his life which I suppose is the real key to discovery. Still quite unsure what to do with his life, Binx grows as a man with hope in his new marriage with Kate. He also journeys into medical school focusing on more important things which enable him to connect with the people around him and create more established relationships. Although Binx puts his search behind him he implies, “In this world goodness is destined to be defeated. But a man must go down fighting. That is the victory. To do anything less is to be less than a man” (76). It would appear on the outside surface that even though Binx has fallen into his everydayness that he dreaded for so long, he begins to move forward accepting what may be unknown to him.

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