motifs

Time in Underworld

I really enjoy DeLillo's delinearization of time in Underworld. It seems that he embraces a cyclical vision of history in which the past and future depend on each other. In this vision, the traditionally distinct beginning and end really stand for a single arbitrary point along the circle depending on one's frame of reference. The book seems to function much like a human memory which patches together discrete frames of stopped time which influences what will happen, yet at the same time, what happens will influence the collection, arrangement and interpretation of memory such that the two become inexorably intertwined.

thirteen

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So the number 13 keeps coming up....the clock, the letters in names etc etc....but I'm trying to remember when we first see the number 13 in the book. I can't find it. Anyone else know?

Dialectics

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I've been noticing that Pynchon has been increasingly using the term "dialectics" throughout Gravity's Rainbow. The OED online dictionary has these definitions to offer:

a. The art of critical examination into the truth of an opinion; the investigation of truth by discussion: in earlier English use, a synonym of LOGIC as applied to formal rhetorical reasoning; logical argumentation or disputation.

As I learned this concept, it had to do with the pendulum like motion between two extreme points, and where these ideas merge, something along the lines of OED's second definition:

In modern Philosophy: Specifically applied by Kant to the criticism which shows the mutually contradictory character of the principles of science, when they are employed to determine objects beyond the limits of experience (i.e. the soul, the world, God); by Hegel (who denies that such contradictions are ultimately irreconcilable) the term is applied (a) to the process of thought by which such contradictions are seen to merge themselves in a higher truth that comprehends them; and (b) to the world-process, which, being in his view but the thought-process on its objective side, develops similarly by a continuous unification of opposites.

Losing Gravity

"Ah, they do bother him, these free women in their teens, their spirits are so contagious" and to the side of a 'song', the sidenote "Where did the swing band come from? She's bouncing up and down, she wants to be jitterbugged, he sees she wants to (italics) lose her gravity (end italics)" from page 547 (ya, I still don't know how to do italics...)

This seems to imply that teen women are spirited, and by the dance theme, happy. Teens may be the children of the war, seeing as we haven't actually been introduced to any children who didn't behave like teenagers if not adults. Even Bianca and Ilse, as far as I know the youngest characters, hardly have any child-like attributes. This would mean that teens are the most innocent of all the characters, which as we've talked about is not the case. A teen is also an age between child and adult, between a 0 and a 1.

Oink Oink

The lengthy descriptions of Slothrop in the pig costume and later Osbie Feel's tattoo (page 651) reminded me of the discussion we had about animals and colonialism on Jan. 31st in class, where Herreros, then the Europeans are animals...

I went back and looked at the text on page 322 to see which animals are referenced, if any. It reads:

"...Oh, no. Colonies are much, much more. Colonies are the outhouses of the European soul, where a fellow can let his pants down and relax, enjoy the smell of his own shit. Where can he fall on his slender prey roaring as loud as he feels like, and guzzle her blood with open joy. Eh? Where he can just WALLOW AND RUT and let himself go in a softness..." (caps mine).

011000100110100101101110011000010111001001111001

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As I've been reading, I've been noticing more and more references to zeroes and ones. It seems like everything comes back to these two numbers. I'm not really sure what to make of it. Is it a science thing? After all, the most complex of computer programs boil down to machine code, which is written in binary. Perhaps it's more than that. I don't really have anything analytical on my own to say, I guess, but I wanted to point that out.

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