Madness : Henry Miller 's Odyssey

1553 Words Jun 17th, 2015 7 Pages
Liminal Madness: Henry Miller’s Odyssey
First Essay

He wasn’t crazy—he was mad. There’s a difference.

-Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi

In Victor and Edith Turner’s work on “Pilgrimage as a Liminoid Phenomenon,” they discuss French folklorist and ethnographer Arnold van Gennep’s rites of transition which correlates with which one experiences on a pilgrimage. This process comprises of three stages. The first stage is separation to separate oneself from home or the comfort of one’s familiar environment; the second stage is limen or margin which puts one in a state of liminal transition or threshold; the final and third stage is aggregation which will be the central focus of this paper. Aggregation is when the passage is “consummated” as the Turner describes, when one reaches the final destination of the structured pilgrimage and returns to the life that one has left behind. Furthermore, when one experiences this stage of aggregation, they are also exposed to a form of religious sacra (sacred) which also transforms and enlightens a person spiritually at the end of their destination. Such an experience, as the Turners suggests, must be completed when the pilgrimage is performed within these structured stages and the pilgrim “is expected to behave in accordance with certain customary norms and ethical standards binding on incumbents of social position in a system of such positions.” However, there is one pilgrim who defies these very structures. In…
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