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Pynchon TCOL 49 - Pg.

She looked down a slope, needing to squint for the sunlight, onto a
vast sprawl of housesknowing that even if he could hear it he
couldnt believe in it
Organization of knowledge order vs. disorder.
The unexpected, astonishing clarity with which she sees the
circuit card dissolves during the course of the book. Initially
Oedipa knew even less about radios than about Southern
California yet on first look understands fairly complex scientific
equipment. As the course of the novel progresses, we see
Oedipa learn more, but enter a web of confusion. Though she
gains in scientific understanding, she comes closer to obsession
and delusion. The search for order alienates her from the world
she is trying to organize.
Does everything have an intent to communicate is the human
condition such that we seek meaning where there is none (concealed
meaning) and attempt to project patterns where they dont exist so to
further understand the world we live in. The patterns of houses and
circuit cards are easy to understand with enough knowledge
Oedipas world (and perhaps Pynchon is suggesting our own too) is
not. Further knowledge, illumination is blinding:
squint for the sunlight
the sun on the bright beige countryside was painful
Is this clarity a positive thing?
Intent to communicate novel is about the mail system
Revelation also trembled just past the threshold of her
understanding through attempting to do so, Oedipa may be
alarmed by what she found - the foundations of her current world will
be (and are) physically shaken.
Hieroglyphic sense: Ancient Egyptian writing system communication
that is now unintelligible to us - meaning concealed in something
that is for all current purposes, meaningless. This theme repeats often
the stamps of Tristero, the ending of The Couriers Tragedy, perhaps
Pierces will also. The system itself consists of pictures/symbols that
represent words or some meaning, a method Pynchon also uses,
leaving Oedipa and the reader to decipher which are important and
which are not.
Communication of the land itself: As ifwords were being spoken
everywhere Oedipa goes some sort of message is trying to reach her
as Oedipas (possible) paranoia increases she begins to see messages
where none may exist. By the end of the book, Oedipa, though sure
that she is being communicated with, is still unable to obtain any

meaning. Pynchon presents the reader with many examples of wasted,

empty vapid communication W.A.S.T.E empty letters, wasted
ridiculous phone calls with Dr. Hilarius and Pierce.

Use of religious imagery Pynchon scorns the practices of religion

or shows Muchos doubts of his working life with a religious analogy
to the communion service.
Stylized movements suggest actions that are not genuine,
trying to hold the record as an object of reverence, a cultural
Soundproof suggests information or someone elses insight
that the main characters of the book cannot access, or cannot
process the same occurs later with the director of The
Couriers Tragedy adaptation of the play and many other
characters Oedipa meets.
Even if he could hear it, he couldnt believe in it - Pynchon
ends the paragraph with the ominous suggestion that through
discovery or exposure nothing becomes clear nothing is fully
convincing. Oedipa later experiences the same, unsettled by all
she has found out, an outsider looking in isolated from
everyone in her life because of her search for the truth, while
other characters fall to disgrace and drug addiction but escape
the path Oedipa is on.
Does the quest to knowledge lead to isolation because it is unending?
Once Oedipa engages on the journey to truth, is her future isolation
inevitable? Oedipas few moments of clarity are enough to make her
continue, as addictive as the drugs that Dr. Hilarius and Mucho both
take, and the exciting nature of the puzzle are enough to entice
Oedipa to continue. However, Pynchon appears to question if theres
any point in it all once obtained Oedipa can never be convinced by
what she uncovers. This all ignores the fact that the communication
itself may be meaningless, and that is why the journey is so
This is a stretch but:
Does the journey towards high art, towards cultural infamy and
reputation, the increased drive towards Avant-Garde lead to
alienation? The discovery of the truth in Art and Culture
through producing art for arts sake isolate the discover and
drive him to a delusional state consumed by a goal, with no
thought as to what is important. Is Pynchon commenting on the
impossibility of reaching that goal