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rmalfi's picture

Starting to understand

When I first started reading this book, I had some trouble figuring out what was going on, and what the point was. I haven't quite gotten through the entire novel (almost there), but I'm actually seeing a lot of connection to what we've been talking about. The famous line from the book is Oedipa's "Shall I project a world?" She is charged with weaving a story from the evidence Inverarity ("untruth") has left behind... She expresses throughout her fact finding endeavors that she's afraid her obsession is simply that and nothing more... Pynchon's pretty brilliant -- I know when I'm reading that there is a ton of stuff that I'm not catching on to - once I resolved to just plow through the fact that I didn't understand rather than try to interpret every line, I started to get more out of the story.

There's a lot I could say... so let me focus on a couple things. I think agency plays a huge role in this novel. On page 65, the narrator talks about Oedipa's "growing obsession, with 'bringing something of herself' - even if that something was just her presence - to the scatter of businsess interests that had survived Inverarity. She would give them order, she would create constellations." She would project a world. She's sees herself in her investigations -- she's not an objective eye. The same is true of Pynchon himself. As far as I know "Tragedy of Courier" is not an actual play -- he creates a fictional play within his own fiction (A true Shakespearean trick). He sees himself in his own writing. He also designs the story so that Oedipa is trying to gain some truth from this fictional play, which is fictional on two counts from our perspective as the reader. His layering is pretty awesome.

Then there is this whole business with the Demon sorting machine and entropy... and I have to say this was a little lost on me. It might make more sense as I continue to read. Oedipa is (for our purposes) a female researcher surrounded by mystery... she is trying to deduce truth from multiple evidence sources.... In the case of the Demon machine she is not " a sensitive" -- she is incapable of deriving information from this source (much like the physics preist metaphor).

Anyway these are some thoughts. I apologize for the disconnected nature of this entry -- it reflects my own thought process in deciphering this text!

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