Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, has characters such as Oedipa Maas, whose world is limited to the authors text. The reader is drawn into the story and also affected by the world created by the author. Both the reader and the characters have the same problems observing the chaos around them. The whole story is a fairy tale. Even while reading the story, you wonder why it is written in such a fashion. When you realize it was written in the l960's, you can basically see where the author is coming from. However, poor Oedipa gets a pretty hard deal throughout the tale. Why her problems seemed to be unclear is finally answered, but it takes a bit of figuring out. Odepia is considered the protagonist. After her ex-boyfriend, Pierce, leaves a complex estate to her, she begins to discover a harmful scheme taking place in Southern California. Like the reader, she is forced to involve herself in the discovery of clues. Pynchon asserts that the measure of the world is its entropy. He extends this metaphor to his fictional world. He keeps the reader involved by attempting to lead the reader down several of these paths in order to make this point. As a reader, we look for symbols to help find solutions to these questions. More than anything else, The Crying of Lot 49 appears to be about cultural chaos and miscommunication as seen through the eyes of a young woman who eventually finds herself hallucinating while watching the world coming down around her.
Somewhere along the way, as the story becomes even more convoluted, Oedipa becomes more confused, and so does the reader. Just what is the purpose of all these odd characters and the story plot? Does it even make sense? Oedipa says, “There was the true continuity, San Narciso ...
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...was to far fetched, none of the characters would be considered good citizens. The author did keep the reader interested and involved in these characters, even though they were out of the ordinary. At times the plot was very confusing. Oedipa’s problems were unanswerable and unsolvable. She was a character the reader felt sympathy for. The way the author wove the story together, we could not have anticipated the ending. Not all stories end with an open ending as this one did. Although I was frustrated with the ending, it was a new way to look at a piece of fiction. Was the author’s intent to torture the reader as he tortured Oedipa? Perhaps the author’s intention was to encourage a more meaningful dialogue from the readers.
Pynchon, Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49. New York:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (April 1,
1999). 152 pages. Print
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