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The Crying of Lot 49: Thomas Pynchon

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When Oedipa Mass first hears that Pierce’s will includes his stamp collection, she can only think of it as “another headache.” By the novel’s end she is left waiting for Lot 49 of the auction, hoping that a forged stamp with the strange postal symbol will provoke a secret bidder to make himself known; that another chance amidst chaos can, through Oedipa’s own fiction, become a coincidence endowed with meaning. In Lot 49 that which was at first trivial for Oedipa becomes essential through nothing more than the stories she has told herself about it. Lot 49 is the mythical end point. It is necessary that its crying lies beyond the end of the novel because Lot 49 is the possibility of Oedipa understanding, not understanding itself. An alternate form of commentary on the text. The guiding principle of these annotations is to remain spoiler-free, so that readers can follow along without the fear that later parts of the book will be revealed. At a resort Pierce owned, Oedipa and Metzger learn that the Inverarity estate is being sued for not paying a member of the mafia for the bones of World War II soldiers. The bones were used to make the bone charcoal for Pierce's cigarettes. One of the Paranoids, who have followed Oedipa and Metzger to the resort, says the story sounds like the plot of The Courier's Tragedy, a Jacobian revenge play from the 17th century. In The O.C. episode "The L.A.", Paris Hilton reveals she's working on a thesis on Pynchon. Another character responds saying he's only read "The Crying of Lot 49." [24]

It emerges that Inverarity had Mafia connections, illicitly attempting to sell the bones of forgotten U.S. World War II soldiers for use as charcoal to a cigarette company. One of The Paranoids' friends mentions that this strongly reminds her of a Jacobean revenge play she recently saw called The Courier's Tragedy. Intrigued by the coincidence, Oedipa and Metzger attend a performance of the play, which briefly mentions the name "Tristero". After the show, Oedipa approaches the play's director and star, Randolph Driblette, who deflects her questions about the mention of the unusual name. After seeing a man scribbling the post horn symbol, Oedipa seeks out Mike Fallopian, who tells her he suspects a conspiracy. This is supported when watermarks of the muted horn symbol are discovered hidden on Inverarity's private stamp collection. The symbol appears to be a muted variant of the coat of arms of Thurn and Taxis, an 18th-century European postal monopoly that suppressed all opposition, including Trystero (or Tristero), a competing postal service that was defeated but possibly driven underground. Based on the symbolism of the mute, Oedipa thinks that Trystero exists as a countercultural secret society with unknown goals. Communicating understanding is not as simple as Maxwell’s Demon because the act of sorting causes the system to lose entropy; it raises confusion; it uncovers more than it can cover up. When told that Pierce has died Oedipa can’t but imagine the bust of Jay Gould falling from that narrow shelf, even though she has no reason to ground that as fact. Notice that the very first action of the novel is the reception of a letter. The issue of letters, mail, and, more largely, communication are central motifs in this novel. Later, Oedipa will begin to uncover what she believes to be an old world-wide conspiracy related to mail delivery; hence, it is important to note the times when letters appear in the novel. In this first instance, the letter communicates important information: Her old boyfriend has died, leaving her with an enormous task to sort out. Keep in mind now that many of the letters later on in the novel will not contain any information at all. It delivers correspondence between various disaffected underground, alternative and countercultural groups, bohemians, hippies, anarchists, revolutionaries, non-conformists, protesters, students, geeks, artists, technologists and inventors, all of whom wish to communicate with each other without government knowledge or interference.Oedipa drives south to San Narciso, where she rents a room in a dingy motel called Echo Courts. Metzger, who is a stunningly handsome former child actor as well as Inverarity’s lawyer, shows up to her room unannounced. Oedipa and Metzger start drinking and watching Cashiered, an old movie of Metzger’s about a man who takes his young son and dog to fight in World War I. Meanwhile, the local commercials advertise Inverarity’s bizarre business ventures, like Fangoso Lagoons, a canal-filled suburb built especially for scuba divers, and Beaconsfield cigarettes, which have special filters made of bone charcoal. Alternatively, the prefix “in-” might mean “into” which might imply the piercing or penetration of the truth. Patterson, Troy (August 6, 2018). " Lodge 49, Reviewed: Channelling Pynchon to Capture California's High Hopes and Deep Loss". The New Yorker.

She had looked down at her feet and known, then, because of a painting, that what she stood on had only been woven together a couple thousand miles away in her own tower, was only by accident known as Mexico, and so Pierce had taken her away from nothing, there'd been no escape. The Courier's Tragedy [ edit ] The reason for Pynchon’s success, and the reason why The Crying of Lot 49 is very much worth the bother, is perhaps hinted at by the sketchy author-bio above. Thomas Pynchon has a sense of humour. He clearly sees that there is something fundamentally hilarious about both fiction and the very idea of a fiction writer, and that it is only at this level of farce that a novel is able to be sure of anything. The song "Radio Zero" by The Poster Children mentions "Radio KCUF" in the lyrics. They also used W.A.S.T.E. and the post-horn on their first cassette. [14]It was not an act of treason, nor possibly even of defiance. But it was a calculated withdrawal, from the life of the Republic, from its machinery. Silence is important to any non-conformist or underground movement, not only from the point of secrecy, but in the sense that Dr. Winston O'Boogie (A.K.A. John Lennon) subsequently maintained that, “A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words”.

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