characters

some thoughts

It's interesting how Bobby Shaftoe knows Glory has his child. He seems completely sure, even know he can't really be sure. Yet he's willing to find his way back to manila for Glory and the child.

It's also interesting to see how the ancestors' personalities show up in their descendants. Randy has similar social leper moments like Lawrence Waterhouse. Amy and her father have very Bobby like qualities.

I was highly amused at Amy's way of dealing with her emotions. Namely, running Randy off the road. She so tough but, in a very realistic moment, shows her insecurities about Randy's affection.

oh, sex!

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On page 412, Matt has a fantasy about having a sexual fling with the protester he drives by. It reminded me of Nick's fantasy about the girl he meets at Klara's project place. These random desires strike me as strange for men who also talk about their relationship with their wife/girlfriend--I must seem very innocent in thinking this strange. I'm not sure why these two men have this tendency to think this way. It's like they all oh so connected to another person, then they see another chick and get at once sidetracked. It's sort of pathetic.

Why so many aliases?

One thing I've been wondering about is why most of the characters have multiple names. Traditionally, an author will introduce a character using both first and last names, and then use just one throughout the novel, usually the last name. Pynchon instead uses many names for each character. Slopthrop, Tyrone, Rocketman, Raketenmensch, etc. Greta, Margherita, Mrs. Erddman. Enzian, Oberst, (that name that starts with an n that I cannot remember). At the end of the novel there is a lot of commentary about the fragmentation of Slothrop. On page 752 it says, "He is being broken down instead, and scattered.

Roger Mexico...why Mexico?

This might seem a silly question...but it's something that kept crossing my mind as I read the book...Roger Mexico's name. Pynchon isn't the kind to just slap a name on a character with considering it. Roger Mexico is not exactly the most common sort of name...why mexico?

There might be no reason....but it seems to me that more often than not there's a reason for most everything in this book. Any ideas? It totally stumps me.

women and Slothrop

I notice that Slothrop's constant sexual encounters make me take him less seriously as a character. This is not just because it makes him, as my friends and I like to say, a "man whore".

Slothrop's relationship to Katje was set up as "special". That is, he seemed to really care about her and Pynchon spent more time talking about them. Slothrop even talks about missing her. Yet he goes on to have sex with anything (female and human) that moves. So this means he has a complete disconnect between sex and emotional attachment, or he really doesn't care that much. I think it's amusing that, for someone so paranoid, he doesn't really hesitate to have sex...well, I guess since it seems meaningless to him in the long run, it does make sense.

first confused musings

"He's wasted gallons of paint thinner striking his faithful Zippo...just to see what's happening with her face. Each new flame, a new face(39)". What I found really interesting about this first chunk of the novel were the changes of perspective and how Pynchon went about it. Even after acclimating to the dense prose and overriding bewilderment, I felt that reading the novel was an experience close to Roger Mexico's in the quote above only that Pynchon rationed the character development of his entire cast instead of just one person.

One theme I thought I kept seeing was that for all its glorification in the mind of the average 20th century character, science and cold reason does not do much to improve the characters' lives, but ironically contributes to the overall dreariness of it. We know something is off about Pointsman from start, but his "creepy" quality is really instilled and gradually built up with elaboration on his Pavlovian beliefs. Even with a real-life situation that matches exactly a textbook statistical model, Roger can agonize, but can't do anything to predict the direction of a given night's blitzkrieg.

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