Crying of Lot 49

1354 WordsOct 8, 19996 Pages
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.…show more content…
Unlike the Maxwell¡¦s Demon, inside a closed system, the reader and Oedipa are exposed to pynchon¡¦s fictional system, which is constantly expanding to include more and more aspects of contemporary America. Being inefficient sorters, both the reader and Oedipa are in a state of confusion, or paranoia. Paranoia, not defined to mean a type of mental illness, refers to the tendency to find meaning in symbols which may or may not have any meaning. At the climax, Oedipa sees the muted post horn everywhere she goes. ¡§In the lapel of which she spied, wrought exquisitely in some pale, glimmering alloy, not another cerise badge, but a pin in the shape of the Trystero post horn. Mute and everything¡¨ (p.111). This makes us wonder if she is simply delusional, as most witnesses to her think, or if there really exists a conspiracy involving the Trystero, thus this puts us at a state of paranoia that Oedipa is in. From one perspective, we can say that Pierce Inverarity, Oedipa¡¦s dead ex-boyfriend, serves to unite the respective quests of the reader and Oedipa. The estate that Pierce Inverarity leaves behind at his death are clues which may lead to his identity. Oedipa¡¦s job is to ¡§bestow life on what had persisted¡Kto bring the estate into pulsing stelliferous Meaning, all in a soaring dome around here¡¨ (p.58). Pierce Inverarity is , to Oedipa, someone who is able to impose an order on the entropy of clues surrounding her. Pierce
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