The Cry Of Lot 49 Ethos Pynchon Analysis

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In The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon weaves a cast of marginalized characters with a superficial, Californian setting to carry out a marathon of distortion between truth and paranoid hallucination. The moment its protagonist, Oedipa Maas, receives a letter naming her the executor for her ex’s estate, her life is reduced to a sequence of unanswered questions and investigations which often lead her to question her own sanity. Through her explorations, Pynchon’s rejection of using a linear narrative style is evident, and it serves as the perfect supplement to a quest-themed plot that seems to crumble apart each time a new piece of evidence is introduced. With characters and plot points that come and go with little explanation, one of the few…show more content…
His statements will often change and contradict themselves within the same chapter or paragraph. This usually surrounds Oedipa’s questioning of reality, which happens several times. For example, Oedipa’s realization, which is referred to as a significant ‘religious instant’ in chapter 2 is incredibly difficult to decipher. This is partially because the moment itself is preceded by the statement that “nothing was happening” (Pynchon, 9). In addition to the contradictory narrative style, she herself does not seem to take much from this religious instant, rather than the knowledge that something had begun to make sense for her, at least partially; “There'd seemed no limit to what the printed circuit could have told her …so in her first minute of San Narciso, a revelation also trembled just past the threshold of her understanding.”(Pynchon, 9). The open-endedness of such a statement becomes a familiar quality in the way The Crying of Lot 49 is constructed- Minimizing the communication of Oedipa’s internal exploration allows for more insight and discussion surrounding its meaning, which seems to be the goal of Pynchon’s

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