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Journey Of Self Discovery In Thomas Pynchons' The Crying Of Lot 49

1223 words - 5 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 deep into the impenetrable conspiracy surrounding Trystero, an underground postal system shrouded in mystery and intrigue; opening her eyes to an alternative way of life. This post modern work of literature infuses dark humor and irony instigating a metamorphosis of intellectually challenging material; subsequently luring us, his readers who have unknowingly become a part of the conspiracy, into the methodical chaos of The Crying of Lot 49.

Well known for incorporating the basic ideas of philosophy and physics into all of his writings, Pynchon states that the "measure of the world is its entropy" (The Grim Phoenix, pg.2); an assertion that extends into the worlds he has created within the covers of his books. The structure of observation that Pynchon has constructed for the viewing of his creation has two distinct levels focused on those of his characters, particularly Oedipa Maas, who's world is restricted to the confines of the composition and also that of the reader who stands on the outside looking in; but who is also affected by (his) relationship to that world on the other side of the glass. Both the reader and the characters develop similar problems in dealing with the chaos around them. Like Pynchons' reader's, Oedipa is forced to either work toward interpreting the trail of seemingly indecipherable clues being tossed in her wake or forgo it all and walk away in bewilderment. Like the reader by deciding to go on, however aimlessly, she is forcibly drawn out of the complacency of her own existence; into a chaotic system of intrigue that reaches far beyond her normal scope of understanding. In the same turn, like Oedipa the reader's role is also based on interpreting numerous symbols and metaphorical clues as a means of stumbling upon a legible conclusion that will stop the madness. Each of them arriving at a different conclusion or none at all solely depended upon how far the use of our perceptions will allow us to go. Unfortunately both Oedipa and the reader (myself included) are overwhelmed by the myriad of inconsistencies and masked innuendo saturating this book from cover to cover. Unable to sufficiently distinguish between what is real and relevant and what is unreal and irrelevant, both are left feeling disconcerted and paranoid; fearful...

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