The Crying of Lot 49

The Crying of Lot 49 and Chaos

A recurring theme that can be found in Thomas Pynchon's novel The Crying of Lot 49 is the conception that chaos has a tremendous effect on society. Pynchon engages in a dualistic method of literary technique to engender the realization of the effect that chaos has on the world. Just as the character Oedipa must read through a series of confusing clues to decipher reality, so must the reader work through seemingly impenetrable mysteries to arrive at meaning in the novel. In essence, then, to fully understand the meaning of Pynchon's novel a reader must do exactly what Pierce Inverarity advises Oedipa to do; namely to keep juggling the massive reception of information in order to stave off entropy while deciphering the meaningful clues from the meaningless ones.

Pynchon's protagonist, Oedipa Mass, spends the novel engaged in the pursuit of clues or else debating whether she should involve herself in the mysteries that surround her. As coexecutrix of Pierce's estate, Oedipa takes off on an odyssey through various California towns to unlock the total repercussions involved in Inverarity's bequest. The novel returns to the idea of Newtonian forces such as action and reaction through the idea that Inverarity...

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