Essay about The Crying of Lot 49

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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. Many of the devices Pynchon uses to establish informational patterns in Lot 49 are metaphors for life in a mythic, fractionalized and increasingly noisy modern America. Hapless Oedipa…show more content…
That the world has things to tell her is not an entirely new idea to Oedipa.At the inception of her role as executrix, she sits in her convertible gazing down upon a typical Southern California suburb--and is instantly reminded of the insides of a transistor radio: ... there was to both outward patternings a hieroglyphic sense of concealed meaning, of an intent to communicate.There'd seemed no limit to what the printed circuit could have told her (if she had tried to find out) ...[2] However, hieroglyphs can be merely decorative--intriguing manifestations of absolutely nothing; and therefore random signals broadcast to the medium at large; a medium of which Oedipa just happens to be a part.Oedipa's dilemma quickly becomes a parallel to the theorized task of Maxwell's Demon:Where the Demon is fabled to sort hot from cold molecules and thus produce Work, Oedipa must sort useful from useless information and thus produce Meaning.Through it all, the underlying question with which Oedipa flirts but never confronts: Isn't it all, perhaps, just noise? Pynchon establishes certain objects and images as avatars of noise, the first being the television ("greenish dead eye of the TV tubeî), which is followed by the first of many invocations of the name of God[3].The TV is
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