language

Quotidian

"'Everyday things represent the most overlooked knowlege. These names are vital to your progress. Quotidian things. If they weren't important, we wouldn't use such a gorgeous Latinate word ... An extraordinary word that suggests the depth and reach of the commonplace'"
-- Father Paulus on page 542

"I wanted to look up words. I wanted to look up velleity and quotidian and memorize the fuckers for all time, spell them , learn them, pronounce them syllable by syllable--vocalize, phonate, utter the sounds, say the words for all they're worth. This is the only way in the world you can escape the things that made you"

why is he asking us?

During a section about Matti, DeLillo suddenly breaks out of the third person narrative and directly "questions" the reader. This happens twice. The first time is on page 402, "Do you work with sound waves? Do you gauge the effects of blast on delivery aircraft? Do you do physics packages and dream about a girl back in Georgia--" I'm not typing out the entire thing. The second occurrence is on page 413, when he writes, "Did you do grad work on solar energy? Did you do a paper on the trigger principle of nuclear fission--." (again, not typing out the entire thing). I wonder about the purpose of this, and what the intention is.

she loved

I notice that in the klara sax sections, Delillo constantly writes "She loved ______". She loves so many things. But she doesn't really love people. She loves art, loves the way she sees the world, but she never loves another person. We don't know a ton about her, but she strikes me as very self-centered...unable to see beyond herself.

the past is the present....

I noticed that DeLillo uses the present tense to describe things that take place in the 50's. The "present", or at least the parts of the book that are most like our current world, he generally describes in the past tense.

I was wondering why he did this. Does it say that the past, the 50's, is somehow more alive and real to us than what we think of as the present? I don't really know. I thought about Gravity's Rainbow and how it's like you are reading the whole book from a later time than WWII (maybe). Perhaps it's like we are reading the book from the 50's and looking forward...but that sounds silly so maybe not.

Slothrop's Mom and Pop, and Other Explorations...

Although I'm sure some of it went over my head, I was particularly fond of the long chapter in section 4 that was broken down into short snippets of moments and stories. This section is near the end of the novel (in the 700's pages) and I feel that it opens up some new ideas while pulling others together (especially regarding Slothrop). I'm just going to talk about a few of the sections I thought were interesting and see what you guys think.

Quite a few of these sections dealt with Slothrop, specifically his childhood and his family. One section, called "Mom Slothrop's Letter to Embassador Kennedy" was particularly interesting to me because it's essentially a letter where Slothrop's mother self-consciously expresses her serious concern for little Tyrone. She came off as an intensely depressed woman who drowns her sorrows in a falsely cheery demeanor and one too many martini's. She begins the letter very playfully, but says she feels like "they're pieces of the Heavenly City falling down." She says "Sometimes things aren't very clear [...] in my heart I kep getting this terrible fear, this empty place, and it's very hard at times to really belive in a Plan with a shape bigger than I can see" (682 in my book). Perhaps she feels regret and confusion about the things Tyrone is being subjected to, but is grappling with the people who tell her that it is necessary. I think this highlights the plight of multiple characters in this book who are working towards a cause they don't fully understand, or are driven by anonymous powers and forces.

SPANISH! yay!!

I was very amused when I read the section with the Argentinians. I thought the "Gaucho Marx" comment was hilarious and the name U.S.S. John E. Badass sated my desire for some cheap humor.

I loved use of Spanish. Previously, when Pynchon used German and Russian, I felt lost (especially because I don't have that companion book). Finally, I am relieved that I at least can understand SOME of the foreign language represented in GR. I really appreciate Pynchon's knowledge of languages now; he describes the Argentine Spanish both descriptively accurately and artistically: "The conversation i

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