The Importance Of Thanatoids In Vineland

analytical Essay
1780 words
1780 words

When one is invited to a ‘60s, ‘70s, or ‘80s decade theme party, they would expect to walk into a colorful room, perhaps with people dressed in miniskirts and tie dye, patent leather and knee-high white boots. Maybe the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, or even Madonna would be playing in the background as peace signs are held up in pictures and phrases such as “Rad!” and “Groovy!” are flung around. However, one would not expect to walk into a decade theme party and see a simulation of a police state, with people dressed as DEA agents, young revolutionaries, drug addicts, and policemen. They wouldn’t expect play drug raids or police brutality because the ‘60s to the ‘80s were the time when the Brady family became blended and when Michelle Tanner was …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that one would expect to walk into a colorful room with people dressed in miniskirts, tie dye, patent leather, and knee-high white boots. however, one wouldn't expect dea agents, young revolutionaries, drug addicts and policemen.
  • Analyzes pynchon's argument in vineland about how media is handpicked so only the unproblematic, quirky, groovy, and "rock ‘n’ roll" parts of history are circulated and remembered while violent movements and government injustice are left to be forgotten.
  • Analyzes how pynchon paints a painfully realistic picture of america that goes beyond pop culture and goes into great detail with the personal tolls it took on the people.
  • Analyzes how pynchon bluntly points out the "mind control" of the government through the tube, the harsh struggle for civil liberties, repression, and unnecessary federal and police involvement.
  • Analyzes how the characters in vineland are addicted to the tube, which is a governmental figure whose main purpose is to distract its viewers while simultaneously controlling what they think.
  • Analyzes how hector zuiga's life is ultimately controlled by the tube, as he hums the flinstones to "calm himself down" and references to shows in his speech.
  • Analyzes how the tube exhibits control over how viewers define a period of time such as the ‘60s. prairie's perception of reality becomes distorted by the media’s tedious snips and cuts in the fabric of history.
  • Analyzes how pynchon finds america's problem with television addiction a more critical problem than drug possession in vineland.
  • Analyzes how pynchon distracts the reader from one plot line with another, complementary with how governments provide their people with entertainment to distract from significantly more serious problems.
  • Analyzes how zoyd wheeler's televised annual "publicly crazy" demonstration earns his mental-disability check. the more complex reasoning behind it is ambiguous.
  • Explains that the annual stunt is part of a shady "mental-disability agreement" between brock vond and zoyd.
  • Analyzes how zoyd's backstory on the annual stunt offers a more logical insight into the event.
  • Analyzes how pynchon's critique of vineland is on the reagan-era repression, specifically the war on drugs, the attempt to seize civil liberties, and police brutality.
  • Analyzes how the government seems to imitate fascist ideals of limiting civil liberties and the abuse of power. vineland implies that the war on drugs is just the beginning.
  • Analyzes how violence and brutality are characteristic of the revolutions in vineland and pynchon signifies them as a violation of civil liberties and completely unnecessary.
  • Analyzes how pynchon is critical of american values and government in the ‘80s in vineland, particularly the effects of the tube, distraction antics, “mind control,” reagan and nixon era repression, the war on drugs, and the seizure of civil liberties.
  • Analyzes how pynchon brings attention to matters that are usually ignored or are too understated to be realized.

Notably, all the characters in the novel seem to be more addicted to the Tube than drugs, which indicates Pynchon’s stance on drugs in relation to television. Thanatoids are the collective group in the novel that demonstrate the television addiction the most as they “[spend] at least every part of every waking hour with an eye on the Tube.” Relatedly, Thanatoid Ortho Bob describes his people as “like death, only different” personalities, implying some sort of correlation between being reduced to just existing and watching copious amounts of the Tube. Drugs and the Tube become analogous in this way as they both lead to forms of death—drugs take a physical toll on the body while the Tube has a more abstract, mental effect on the mind. However, since the Tube is more accessible, innocently entertaining, and, most of all, legal, more people become damaged by the Tube than …show more content…

While at first glance the novel seems to be about the consequences of drugs or the War on Drugs, the drug use is never extreme or life-threatening. However, the consequences of television addiction are described in great detail, even if just referenced in the characters’ mannerisms. The Tube portrays a false sense of reality and makes viewers believe in a perfect world. It reduces the viewers’ view of the world to a mere peephole, a narrow “Tube” perhaps, focusing only on the quirky antics of the Brady family and the wardrobe of those that lived through the period and, gradually, viewers become obsessed with this false utopia and are unable to cope with the real world without incorporating it into their

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