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Thomas Pynchons The Crying of Lot 49 - Book Report/Review Example

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Thomas Pynchons The Crying of Lot 49

Pynchon's protagonist, Oedipa Mass, spends the novel engaged in the pursuit of clues or else debating whether she should involve herself in the mysteries that surround her. As coexecutrix of Pierce's estate, Oedipa takes off on an odyssey to unlock the full impact involved in Inverarity's bequest. As her odyssey progresses Oedipa comes to perceive that Pierce Inverarity's influence not only on her life but on the rest of the world appears to be more substantial, such as when she recollects that Pierce "owned a large block of shares, had been somehow involved in negotiating an understanding with the county tax assessor to lure Yoyodyne here in the first place. It was part, he explained, of being a founding father" (25-26). Executing Pierce's will sets Oedipa on her journey to begin boucing information back and forth in an attempt to balance it and understand it, causing Oedipa to eventually piece together clues so that they form a truth about Pierce that assigns him great authority, including the power to leave behind the clues to the mystery of Tristero as an inordinately elaborate plan of some sort that is directed entirely for her benefit. This idea causes Oedipa to reflect upon the possibility that Pierce "might himself have discovered the Tristero, and encrypted that in the will, buying into just enough to be sure she'd find it. Or he might even have tried to survive death, as a paranoia; as a pure conspiracy against someone he loved" (179).
The novel engages with the theoretical ideas of Newtonian forces, especially action and reaction through the idea that Inverarity still manages to be a moving force despite being in a state of total entropy through the unfortunate outcome of being a corpse. Oedipa's exploration for the truth is not simply physical, however, as it might be if this were just a mystery or detective story, but it is also metaphysical. Oedipa's rationale in the novel becomes ironic in light of the fact that she is executing another's will while at the same time she appears to be having her will executed by Pierce. It is as if Pierce is guiding her from beyond the grave to look past the ennui that satisfies the masses as they uncritically receive the steady stream of information provided by the television that Pierce has described as "filthy machines" (91). On one level Oedipa's attempt to untangle this morass of information is analogous to the Demon. The Demon is capable of undoing the law of entropy by manufacturing a "staggering set of energies" that are produced by destroying "massive complex of information" (84 -85). In order of Oedipa to realize the advice to keep it bouncing, she must learn to do what the Demon does; to constantly separate, decode and reintegrate information that never stops or even slows down.
Pierce intends for Oedipa to learn a valuable lesson from Maxwell's Demon, a machine that suggests that information flow can be bounced until it can be decoded as either a truth or a lie "depending where you were: inside, safe, or outside, lost" (105). Her experience in translating the hieroglyphs is there to provide her with ...Show more


A recurring theme that can be found in Thomas Pynchon's novel The Crying of Lot 49 is that confusion has a tremendous effect on society and that in order to counter it one must always be in motion, juggling the constant influx of information and images one receives in an effort to decipher a truth that is entirely subjective depending on where your consciousness is located at the time…
Author : elliotkreiger
Thomas Pynchons The Crying of Lot 49 essay example
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