The Clash Between Memory and the Self in Walker Percy’s The Last Gentleman and The Second Coming
AbstractThe aim of our article is to analyze how the processes of remembering relate to a sense of self. We assume that both phenomena, memory and the self, are not only closely related, but can also be in conflict. A play of metaphors may be the most effective way to capture this conflict. The life of Williston Bibb Barrett, the main character in Walker Percy’s The Last Gentleman and The Second Coming, will serve as an illustration of our hypothesis. His life is a record of a dynamics of memory influenced by attacks of amnesia, fugue states and déjà vu. A modern semiotic model of cultural memory, theories of the self, Bartlett’s modern schema theory and their mutual relationships and conflicts will furnish an entry point for our analysis of Walker Percy’s eponymous last gentleman.
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