Crying of Lot 49

Topics: The Crying of Lot 49, Novel, Thomas Pynchon Pages: 4 (1354 words) Published: October 8, 1999
There are two levels of apprehension to The Crying of Lot 49: that of the characters in the book, whose perception is limited to the text, and that of the reader, who has the ability to look at the world from outside of it. A recurring theme in the novel is the phenomenon of chaos, also called entropy. Both the reader and Oedipa have the same problems of facing the chaos around them. Through various methods, Pynchon imposes a fictional world of chaos on the world of the reader, a world already full of confusions. As readers, we are faced with the same uncertainty and complication of the mystery that the characters are involved in. As the mysteries unfold, an understanding of the characters leads to the understanding of ourselves. Oedipa Mass, just like us, is forced to either involve herself in the deciphering of clues or not to participate at all in what she suspects to be a conspiracy. Her role is comparable to the role of Maxwell¡¦s Demon. ¡§As the Demon sat and sorted his molecules into hot and cold, the system was said to lose entropy. But somehow the loss was offset by the information the Demon gained about what molecules were where¡¨ (p.105). Oedipa¡¦s purpose in the novel, besides executing a will, is to find meaning in a life dominated by assaults on people¡¦s perceptions through the use of drugs and the muting of communications. Entangled in this chaos, Oedipa has to do what the Maxwell¡¦s Demon does: sort useful facts from useless ones. Pynchon involves his audience in that they also have to interpret countless symbols and metaphors to arrive at a meaning. One of the most effective techniques that Pychon uses to involve the reader in his fictional world is his use of details. His mixing of the specific history of Thurn and Taxis in his plot serves to overburden the reader with details that seems to have no relation to the story at hand. ¡§ From the same plastic folder he now tweezed what looked like an old Ferman stamp, with the figures...
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