Although Percy sketches many of the characters with the swift, deadly accurate strokes of comic caricature, his protagonist is a fully developed, complex, seriocomic hero. Yet he is also a kind of Everyman, sharing many of the mental/emotional impediments typical of each of the social groups so deftly caricatured. The dominant political parties, for example, have been renamed (a contribution in each case of the opposition) and display characteristic pathological symptoms. Conservative Republicans, now called Knotheads, often suffer from large bowel complaints, making proctology one of the two major medical specialties. Dr. More shares this difficulty. Though by no means a political Knothead, he is a conservative Roman Catholic in a world where most Catholics have formed splinter groups. Like so many of Percy’s protagonists, and like the author himself, he professes to believe in the traditional Catholic Christian message. Dr. More admits, however, that he loves women, music, science, whiskey, and God, in that order—and his fellowman hardly at all. He has not “eaten Christ”—that is, taken Communion—since his daughter Samantha died, his wife ran away with a heathen Englishman, and he himself turned to drink.
He suffers even more from the tendency toward abstraction and unreasonable terrors that have become typical of the Lefts (Democrats) or Leftpapasane, a term devised by Knotheads, standing for Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, The Pill, Atheism,...
(The entire section is 588 words.)