The Crying of Lot 49

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

America used to be known as the land of opportunity. That was before the wars and the advent of technology. For post-modern authors, modernity and prosperity has turned America into a disappointment. Barthelme's Snow White and Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 share similar ideas about the condition of American society. These two books discuss the problems of America in characteristically post-modern terms. Through their female protagonists, these authors employ allusions to fairytales and examinations of American society in similar ways.

Barthelme's Snow White borrows a theme from fairytales but adds a post-modern perspective. The title of the book makes an obvious statement about the nature of Barthelme's narrative. It is a post-modern re-telling of the Snow White story. It abandons the traditional narrative form and instead aims to satire American culture. In the traditional Snow White story, the female protagonist flees a jealous stepmother and takes refuge with seven dwarfs until her Prince Charming rescues her. They ride off into the sunset together and live "happily ever after." In Barthelme's book Snow White is the hapless pseudo-wife of the seven dwarfs. She is overcome with boredom and is...

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