Art & Identity in New Orleans

HNRS 109 Spring '18


The Moviegoer by Walker Percy features many complex characters aside from Binx Bollings, who is the main subject of the book. These characters include his Aunt Emily and his cousin Kate.¬†While Aunt Emily is a force of nature over her domain of influence, Kate, her adoptive daughter is still recovering from a car crash resulting in the death of her fiance. Kate closes herself off to the world at times, refusing to appear at social functions, unwilling to speak even to her family. Although Kate is not the main character, I see a similarity between Kate and the main characters of the Awakening, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Belocq’s Ophelia. Each woman feels trapped by her past and by her surroundings. Edna feels it in her relationship with her husband and in her love for another. Society does not allow for what she desires, and it traps her. Blanche’s past follows and haunts her wherever she goes, capturing her in the fear that the rest of the world will learn her secret. Her sister Stella begins to feel that her own relationship with her husband is trapping her as a result of Blanche’s presence in her house. Ophelia too has a past that she cannot escape, and as she seeks a new life she finds only a new type of prison as her shelter. Kate, by comparison is prisoner to her emotions. Just as it seems that she is opening up, she withdraws into herself again. Each woman in these books feels, whether consciously or unconsciously that she is a prisoner to her surroundings, her past, or her own emotions.


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