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In Search of Meaning In addition to finding meaning and purpose to his life Will Barrett in Walker Percys The Last Gentleman must attribute some meaning to his fathers suicide in order to resolve his ongoing grief Suicide survivors experience dramatic shock and trauma as explained in a compendium of articles in Living With Grief After Sudden Loss Judith M Stillion a contributing suicidology expert states that those grieving loss by suicide often are left with questions such as why their loved one killed themselves and what if anything might have been done to prevent the suicide 50 Questions like these are generally unanswerable and thus they may prolong the process of grieving and condemn survivors to live in the shadow of that suicidal death far longer than is healthy Stillion 50 As a suicide survivor Will Barrett at the age of nineteen not only has the usual identity search of a young man but he also has a special and time-consuming burden to overcome the heightened feelings of guilt shame and rejection caused by his fathers suicide In the end Jamie and Sutter Vaught as adopted family help Will find meaning in life and resolution with his fathers suicide Suicide may be the least forgivable sin of all human betrayals Ed Barrett arrogantly and selfishly committed suicide leaving himself dead and unanswerable to his son As John M Schwartz states what finally provoked Mr Barrett to suicide was His dance of honor collapsed amidst its moral ambiguities At the last he was a moralist but his world completely failed to stand at the moral attention he demanded 117 What he wanted was for all gentlemen to accept the burden of noblesse oblige and for there to be a distinction between a gentleman and others Schwartz 117 Walker Percys Ed Barrett states on the night of the suicideTheyve won Percy 330 The fornicators bribers takers of bribes the hypocritesall the enemies of lawyer
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