Transcending the malaise": redemption, grace, and existentialism in Walker Percy's fiction"

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English


Department of English


Advisor: Albino Carrillo


Since the 1960 publication of his debut novel, The Moviegoer, Walker Percy's work has been widely read and critically evaluated by scholars. Though much has been done with Percy's work, none have examined how shifts in American Catholicism and the changes of the Second Vatican Council impacted the ways in which Percy wrote about religion and approached the problems of the modern world. In the following pages, I will detail the important movements in American Catholicism, the pertinent changes made to the practice of Catholicism through the Second Vatican Council, and the Existentialist philosophies of Kierkegaard, Buber, and Marcel in order to demonstrate the ways in which Percy's characters Binx Bolling of The Moviegoer and Thomas More of Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World, transcend the malaise" or "everydayness" that separates them from God and community."


Percy, Walker, 1916-1990 Criticism and interpretation, Vatican Council (2nd : 1962-1965 : Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano) Influence, Redemption in literature, Grace (Theology) in literature, Existentialism in literature, Christianity and literature United States History 20th century, Catholics in literature

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