Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*New Orleans

*New Orleans. Louisiana’s biggest city, in whose Garden District Aunt Emily and Uncle Jules Cutrer live in a large house with their African American servants and their daughter Kate, Binx Bolling’s cousin. Frequently Aunt Emily, Binx’s great aunt, attempts to convince him to embrace her patrician and stoical attitudes, symbolized in her life in this home.

Binx has chosen to work as a stockbroker in a branch of Uncle Jules’s brokerage firm and to live in Elysian Fields in Gentilly, a middle-class suburb. His basement apartment in Mrs. Schexnaydre’s bungalow, which he furnishes with the latest appliances, contrasts sharply with the more formal living arrangements of Aunt Emily, with her antique furniture and uniformed servants, and with the Bolling’s ancestral home in Feliciana Parish. In Greek and Roman mythology Elysium, or the Elysian Fields, were where the souls of heroes resided after death. In this land of sunshine and fragrant flowers, souls existed joyously. Binx prefers the sameness of Gentilly to the old world humor of the French Quarter, where he lived for two years, and the genteel charm of the Garden District, where Aunt Emily lives. The movie theaters Binx visits for escape from everydayness are also located in Gentilly.

Bayou des Allemonds

Bayou des Allemonds (BI-yew dehz-ah-leh-MAWN). Summer fishing camp for Binx’s mother, stepfather, and their children. Binx spent...

(The entire section is 582 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The body of the novel is a monologue in which Binx narrates the events of the week of Ash Wednesday in New Orleans. Reviewers generally...

(The entire section is 264 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Percy has one concern and one theme in all of his novels: people's alienation from themselves, from others, from society, and, foremost, from...

(The entire section is 260 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Although Percy's sensibility and much of his content are shaped by his southern heritage, the literary precedents for this novel are more...

(The entire section is 168 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

All six of Percy's novels (and most of his essays) are closely linked by similar concerns and themes. In each, a central character finds...

(The entire section is 439 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Hardy, John Edward. “Man, Beast, and Others in Walker Percy.” In Walker Percy: Novelist and Philosopher. Edited by Jan Nordby Gretlund and Karl-Heinz Westarp. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1991. Discusses Binx Bolling by comparing him to other main characters in Percy’s works.

Lawson, Lewis A. “Moviegoing in The Moviegoer.” Southern Quarterly 18, no. 3 (1980): 26-42. The best discussion of the overall metaphor of the novel, moviegoing. Lawson shows how watching movies becomes an alternative to living life.

Thale, Mary. “The Moviegoer of the 1950’s.” Twentieth Century Literature 14, no. 2 (July, 1968): 84-89. Examines the social role of movies in the decade preceding the writing of The Moviegoer.

Tharpe, Jac. Walker Percy. Boston: Twayne, 1983. Provides all the important information about Percy’s philosophy and essays, as well as biographical and other background information. One chapter is given to The Moviegoer.

Wyatt-Brown, Bertram. The House of Percy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Primarily a biography of Walker Percy’s family, this work reveals connections between Percy’s family life and the characters in his novels, particularly Binx Bolling in The Moviegoer.