Johnnie as an Inhabitant of Sensation

“Lingus, by contrast, reminds us that “to sense something is to be sensitive to something, to feel a contact with it, to be affected by it” (Lingus, PE 59 – Sparrow, 104). Tom Sparrow’s “Bodies in Transit” helps to unpack some very interesting ideas that Alphonso Lingus had about the power and effect of sensation, and how it differs from the way that perception allows us to organize, define, and clarify the world around us. Rather, sensation, Lingus argues, is more of an emotional and physical experience, not something that necessarily helps us to better understand our context but something that leaves an impression — and often it’s a powerful one, even if we can’t define it. Working with Sparrow’s interpretation of Alphonso’s ideas helps me to better unravel Johnnie’s condition. She seems to be a person heavily engaged in sensing the world around her and the people she wants to connect with; there is a desire certainly to know and define Scooter — his hopes, his fears, his opinions, whether or not he will be able to visit the beach and pick green coconuts during his visit to the Florida Keys — but I also see in Johnnie a desire to sort of dwell in the sensation of Scooter. She seems fascinated by the idea of him, and how this hazy figure makes her feel internally, and the sort of inspiration and mad fervor he elicits in her. She seems to operate on an interesting axis with her letters, between engagement with perception as well as sensation as defined by Lingus.

 

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