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Published by qmyers2
1.2 page response of Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49"
1.2 page response of Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49"

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Published by: qmyers2 on Apr 11, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Seeing is not Believing in Thomas Pynchon’s “The Crying of Lot 49”Thomas Pynchon creates a mystery world of constant miscues in his novel “TheCrying of Lot 49.” The protagonist Oedipa Maas indulges in a search for the truemeaning behind a sketch of a muted post horn and a man named Tristero. While Oedipaconstantly finds recurrent clues to these unknown symbols, she acknowledges that theycannot be trusted. She must remain uncertain because she can only “recognize signalslike that, as the epileptic is said to-an odor, color, pure piercing grace note announcing hisseizure” (76). Any color or odor can spark a seizure in an epileptic person, without that person knowing why or how. In the same way, Oedipa suspects she is being set off byimages of the muted horn without knowing why they spark her interest and keep her investigating. In addition, she goes on to wonder if everything she has been working onwill end as a meaningless pile of intimations, clues, and announcements, but “never thecentral truth itself” (76). In the same way Pynchon tangents from the main point of asentence or paragraph, Oedipa is led astray with multiplying appearances of the symboland “W.A.S.T.E.” As Oedipa hallucinates more “leads,” she, along with the reader, becomes more confused. It becomes impossible to decipher between the legitimate cluesand the envisioned, reiterating the metaphor of the epileptic world. Every time she seesthose certain symbols she is triggered into a new, more confusing twist for no reasonother than the physical image of the horn or W.A.S.T.E.. Pynchon’s metaphor of theepileptic attack reveals that Oedipa may be searching for meaning in a world where onlycircular, or even fraudulent signals exist. However, it is within this world that Oedipamust search for meaning behind the perhaps meaningless signifiers.

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