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Teaching The Moviegoer to 17-Year-Olds

My 12th grade students read Walker Percy’s novel The Moviegoer over the summer and so we’re discussing it now in class. I love teaching novels that almost everyone in the class hates on their first read. And I get it; I can see why today’s 17 year old teenagers would hate The Moviegoer. It’s light on action and heavy on abstractions and is the product of an era distinctly not their own.

I wasn’t familiar with The Circe Institute before happening upon this lovely post, but they seem like nice people.

I want to teach my students to read well – and deeply – not because I want them to read good books by the bushels or stock their shelves with well aged classics. I want to teach them to read well because there is a God-breathed universe of truth available to those who, as Binx Bolling recognized in his own broken way, seek it.


  1. Awesome! Thanks for this, Dorian. I just started teaching Language Arts at a hybrid school and the high school offers a classical education. The Circe Institute looks like a great resource.

  2. but who is teaching Starship Troopers?

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      Bro: It’s a book called Starship Troopers that somehow, miraculously, actually lives up to its title… a book about dudes in armored robo-suits with flamethrower hands, and girls in nuclear-bomber rocket-ships, battling giant insectoid alien crypto-commies — IN SPACE.

      It practically ‘teaches’ itself.

      • Well said sir. Though it should be required reading anyway. (even as required summer reading!)
        You’re right they don’t need to teach the book; looks like they probably have History and Moral Philosophy covered.

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