Summary Of Loss Of The Creature By Walker Percy

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In his work “The Loss of the Creature”, Walker Percy asserts that learning is direct confrontation of the unknown, a process of struggle for finding individuality. He contends that unique experience of learner have to be stumbled upon, rather than via formal environments of laboratories and classrooms. Percy supports his claims by comparing the gains of explorers to the sightseers at Grand Canyon, insisting that unprecedented discovery of unknown generates better education outcomes than learning with existing expectations. Advocating learning through authentic experiences, he introduces the phenomenon of “loss of sovereignty” (54) in a vivid example: an American couple were unable to fully appreciate their discovery of an unspoiled point of …show more content…

To introduce his concept of learning, he provides two hypothetical examples about visitors to the attraction. When illustrating the discovery anecdote, he describes that the Spanish explorer Garcia Lopez de Cardenas “crosses miles of desert” (46), and “breaks through the mesquite” (46), creating an impression that Mr. Lopez de Cardenas’s accomplishment was impossible without struggle and perseverance. In contrast, the Boston tourist “visits his travel bureau, looks at the folder, and signs up for a two-week tour.” (46) Both men visited the canyon: the Spaniard was “amazed at the sight” (46) by his accidental discovery, while the Bostonian “take the tour” (46) and “see” (46) the canyon; the explorer stumbled upon the great attraction, whereas the tourist “decides to spend his vacation” (46) there. Percy differentiated his wordings when presenting the two men’s experiences, thoughtfully hinting that the visit outcome of the explorer is superior, as he suggests that the Boston traveler’s comfortable visit lead him to “not see the canyon.” (47) In order to assess the pleasure visitors receive from visiting the Grand Canyon, Percy creates a model that quantifies the pleasure level of Lopez de Cardenas as a measurable mathematical value P. In the process of evaluating the P value, he compares P with benefits that diabetes patients receive with “Banting’s discovery of insulin.” (46) Unlike the welfare the insulin brought about, Percy’s P, due to “counterinfluence” (46), has inverse relationship with the number of tourists. With the quantification of P, Percy offers his readers a concrete proof, showing the surplus of pleasure from the explorer’s discovery over that of the tourist’s recreational

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