By Walker Percy
CLASS: Philosophy of Love and Sex
September 10, 2012
Lancelot is a novel, copyright 1977, by Walker Percy. The novel is about a man, Lancelot, whom is locked up in a mental institution in the aftermath of a fire at his home, Belle Isle. The author quickly established the main character, Lancelot, who is also the narrator of this book. Although there are a handful of characters, the reader feels the novel is all in Lancelot’s voice as he has a discussion with another person. As for the story, Lancelot claims he doesn’t understand or remember why he is in the institution, however, after seeing an old friend, Harry, he begins to tell his story to Harry, about what led up to his confinement. Lancelot first appears a mild-mannered, almost boring husband, only to become a murderer. Harry, whom the reader would believe to be a priest-psychiatrist, is also an old friend, but the reader is unsure if Harry is a patient at the institution or not and in the end, the reader is unsure if Harry is even real. As Lancelot shares his story with Harry, the reader finds that Lancelot’s youngest daughter is not his own child. His wife was cheating on him. His mother cheated on his father. His father, who held a political position in the community, took bribes. In the end, all that Lancelot believed always became lies and ultimately these lies became the catalyst to his insanity. In chapter one, I was immediately under the impression that Lancelot was confused, since he talked about not knowing if he was in an institution or prison and he didn’t know why he was there. But I wasn’t yet under the impression that he was insane. As the story continued, I found myself wondering who Lancelot was really talking to when he had conversations with his friend, Harry, since at first the author led me to believe that the man called, “Harry” worked at the place Lancelot was at, but that through the next two chapters, I...
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