The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

The truth? The truth is I only sought out The Crying… because there is a powerful, cryptic line from it in the book In the Lake of the Woods.

One theme might be: there’s so much more going on than we realize. We perceive the edges of what’s really going on, unable to see the picture, occasionally seeing, or sensing, enough to know there’s more.

Is there more, or is the dull sleepwalking, manageable only with addictions, all there is?

There are new/made up words on each page. Does Pynchon purposely misspell words… you know, to make a point?

So lonely. Sad, confused. Defeated, yet still a little curious.

From Wikipedia:

As in his earlier novel, V., Pynchon seems to be making a point about human beings’ need for certainty, and their need to invent conspiracy theories to fill the vacuum in places where there is no certainty.

From SparkNotes:

The Crying of Lot 49 contains a pervasive sense of cultural chaos. Related to the theme of the problem of communication is the novel’s representation of the way in which people impose interpretation on the meaningless. It is very telling that Oedipa wants to turn the mystery of the Tristero into a “constellation,” which is not really an example of true order. Solar systems are simply mankind’s way of imposing an artificial but pleasing order on the randomness of outer space. It is, furthermore, an imposition of a two-dimensional structure onto a three-dimensional reality. Oedipa’s quest to construct a constellation seems to indicate that she is only looking for a superficial system.

Indeed, she never succeeds in figuring out the meaning behind the Tristero, and, further, the novel ends with the very strong likelihood that the mystery may hold no mystery at all. And just as she is unable to piece together the puzzle of the Tristero, she is similarly unable to refashion her life after it begins to fall apart.

Language is the means through which the story is communicated, and Pynchon has chosen to use a language full of jokes, puns, and satires. Science seems to stand in opposition to the chaos of language that all of Pynchon’s manipulation suggests. Science is ordered and coherent and offers a body of definite knowledge that all can study. And yet, even the coherence of science is undermined in the existence of Maxwell’s Demon and the figure of Dr. Hilarius. Though pure science may offer coherence, the uses to which that science is put, the interpretations imposed on that science, can scatter that coherence to the wind.

More than anything else, The Crying of Lot 49 appears to be about cultural chaos and communication as seen through the eyes of a young woman who finds herself in a hallucinogenic world disintegrating around her.
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