The paths leading toward knowledge (of self, of others, of the world around us) are circuitous. Thomas Pynchon, in his novel The Crying of Lot 49, seems to attempt to lead the reader down several of these paths simultaneously in order to illustrate this point. Our reliance on symbols as efficient translators of complex notions is called into question. Beginning with the choice of symbolic or pseudo-symbolic name, Oedipa Maas, for the central character of his novel, Pynchon expands his own investigation of symbol as Oedipa also attempts to unravel the mysteries surrounding the muted horn of the Tristero.
In choosing names that conjure up other images/ideas which may or may not reflect directly upon the character to whom the name belongs, does Pynchon attempt to underscore or undermine the entire notion of symbol as an authentic source of insight? The answer may well be both, I am aware, but let us continue down this path awhile longer. Consider one name, Oedipa Maas, for a moment. Classical allusions to t...
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Peter Barry says of the cultural materialist approach to literature that “it is difficult to know how to ‘place’ writing of this kind” (189). By “writing” Barry refers to cultural materialist criticism itself—not the work being criticized—but it is probably safe to assume that the analysis properly reflects the analyzed in this respect. It is certainly arguable that Thomas Pynchon’s THE CRYING OF LOT 49 qualifies as “difficult to place,” and this may be its only legitimate connection offered to a cultural materialist reading.... [tags: Pynchon Crying Lot 49 Essays]
2837 words (8.1 pages)
- The Crying of Lot 49: Embattled Underground In May of 1966, Richard Poirier wrote an article on Thomas Pynchon's latest novel at the time, The Crying of Lot 49. Clearly a fan of Pynchon's earlier novel V, Poirier praises what he calls another sample of Pynchon's "technical virtuosity" at "apocalyptic sat[ire]," of "saturnalian inventiveness" comparable to John Barth and Joseph Heller (Poirier 1). He admires Pynchon's adept confidence with philosophical and psychological concepts &endash; "his anthropological intimacy with the off-beat" (1).... [tags: Crying Lot 49 Essays]
936 words (2.7 pages)
- There are two levels of participation within The Crying of Lot 49: that of the characters, such as Oedipa Maas, whose world is limited to the text, and that of the reader, who looks at the world from outside it but who is also affected the world created by the text.3 Both the reader and the characters have the same problems observing the chaos around them. The protagonist in The Crying of Lot 49, Oedipa Mass, like the reader, is forced to either involve herself in the deciphering of clues or not participate at all.4 The philosophy behind The Crying of Lot 49 seems to lie in the synthesis of philosophers and modern physicists. Ludwig Wittgenstein viewed the world as a "totality of... [tags: Crying Lot 49 Essays]
1898 words (5.4 pages)
- Disorder and Misunderstanding The Crying of Lot 49 When reading Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49" one is flooded with a deluge of historical references (dates, places, events) and, unless a historical genius, probably feels confused as to the historical accuracy of such references. As critics have shown, Pynchon blends factual history with fiction and manages, as David Seed writes in "The Fictional Labyrinths of Thomas Pynchon," to "juxtapose(s) historical references with reminders of the novel's status as artefact so that the reader's sense of history and of fiction are brought into maximum confrontation" (128).... [tags: Crying Lot 49 Essays]
1718 words (4.9 pages)
- Making a Connection in The Crying of Lot 49 For as long as I could read comprehensively, I have always believed that great writing centered around well written stories that would both provide a certain measure of unaffected pleasure, as well as challenge the readers perception of the world at large; both within and outside of the sphere of its prose. Thomas Pynchons' The Crying of Lot 49 encompasses both of those requirements; by enfolding his readers, through a variety of means, within the intricate workings of his narrative.... [tags: Crying Lot 49 Essays]
1421 words (4.1 pages)
- The Crying of Lot 49: Her Errand Into the Wilderness One of the central themes touched upon in Pierre-Yves Petillon's Essay, "A Re-cognition of Her Errand Into the Wilderness," is the general sense of awakening one feels when he reads Thos Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. Petillon begins his essay by expressing the opinion that "it is rather odd that The Crying of Lot 49, a slim novella should have become an overnight classic (O'Donnell, p.127)." What at first seemed like a typical piece expounding the virtues of LSD, turned out to have much more under the surface than a first reading would reveal.... [tags: Crying Lot 49 Essays]
375 words (1.1 pages)
- The Disdainful Use of Names in Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 While reading Pynchon’s, The Crying of Lot 49, I found myself fascinated with the names of the characters. I tried to analyze them and make them mean something, but it seems that Pynchon did not mean for the names to have a specific meaning. This deduction made me think about the satirical nature of the naming of the characters. Which led me to muse on the chaotic nature of the naming. The apparent disdain for the characters by their naming seems to imply that the author is poking fun at the reader and society through the characters.... [tags: Crying Lot 49 Essays]
579 words (1.7 pages)
- Journey of Self-Discovery in Thomas Pynchons' The Crying of Lot 49 Thomas Pynchons' The Crying of Lot 49 challenges the readers' perception of the world by enfolding his readers, through a variety of means, within the intricate workings of his narrative. It centers around would be heroine Oedipa Maas whose life is turned upside down when she discovers that she has been made executor of the estate of old flame and entrepreneur Pierce Inverarity. When she is imposed upon to travel to the fictional city of San Narcisco, where Inverarity is said to have numerous real estate holdings, in order to carry out her task, Oedipa stumbles upon a muted post horn; the first of many clues leading her... [tags: Crying Lot 49 Essays Thomas Pynchons]
1219 words (3.5 pages)
- 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... [tags: oedipa maas, chaos]
1437 words (4.1 pages)
- Technology has long been recognized as a mixed blessing. Its up/downside nature was illustrated nicely in Walt Disney's Fantasia by the myth of the Sorcerer's Apprentice:not only does the "magic" of the machine produce what you desire, it often gives you much more than you can use--as Oedipa Maas, the heroine of this stark American fable, discovers on her frenetic Californian Odyssey. Information which strains to reveal Everything might well succeed only in conveying nothing, becoming practically indistinguishable from noise.But there is noise, and Noise.... [tags: The Crying of Lot 49 Essays]
3743 words (10.7 pages)