the loss of the creature-assignment#2-ah

Asma Ahmed Hashmi
English 102
Professor Teddy Chocos
Dated 2/11/13
Walker Percy, the man who was haunted by the lineage of the tragic death of his family
members-his father and grandfather died in suicide attempt. Though his mother reportedly died
in a car accident, he still considered it as more of a suicide attempt. After the death of his parents,
he was brought under the care of his uncle, William Alexander Percy. He was an undergraduate
in North Carolina Chapel Hill University. And later he sought his graduate studies in Columbia
Medical School, majoring in chemistry and receiving a medical degree. The tragedy of his
family, and his disturbed adult life, had perhaps turned Percy more philosophical.
His book, the Loss of the Creature, written in 1954, is a philosophical piece of essay in which
he rivaled with the pre-planned way of viewing life’s beauty, lessons and discoveries. He
lamented the loss of the sovereignty of perspectives, much to the sheer negligence of the people.
His essay is powered by strong examples through which he tried to frame “The Loss of the
Creature”. Percy states, “I do not refer only to the special relation of layman to theorists. I refer
to the general situation in which sovereignty is surrendered to a class of privileged knowers,
whether these be theorists or artists. A reader may surrender over that which has been written
about, just as a consumer may surrender sovereignty over a thing which has been theorized
about. The consumer is content to receive an experience just as it has been presented to him by
theorists and planners. The reader may also be content to judge life by whether it has not been
formulated by those who know and write about life.”
Percy’s theory emphasized on the reverence of an individual’s perspectives- that being, not to
surrender your beliefs to the common redundant views. He was wearied of people who couldn’t
recover from following the most ‘beaten track’ of all. He believed when a person is left to
explore, discover and is not bounded by the expertise theory. The person is liberated to form his
own thinking without being belittled by the expertise’s theoretical views. In this way a person
who is dissecting a fish out in an open frame actually learns more than a biology student who
makes calculated movements to cater to the professor’s requirement. That is so because the
student failed to muster enough strength to break the odds to excavate that learning, that beauty
that comes in the package of that educational learning. Percy wrote about this debacle, “It is only
the hardiest and cleverest of students who can salvage the sonnet from this many tissued
packages.” This is just not a loss of beauty, a discovery, literature or science but also the loss of
thinking. The thinking that has lost its individuality; it is now shaped by the pressures of an
educational requirements and the peer pressures. This way it’s not surprising when a person who
studies Shakespeare sonnets because he has an inclination to, actually learns more than a student
who studies it in Harvard university by the best of faculties. This is so because he subconsciously
surrenders to the expertise of the educational package that is awarded to him. In a complex web
of system and theory that is planned for the people to see and learn; Percy administered people to
see beyond what is designed for them. He wanted each individual to experience something
different from the experience that is designed for them; to salvage and procure your own
perspectives from the many used packages.