This little piggie went to the market....

A continuation to Kodiak Sasha's post:

There's an important bit about the pigs on page 564-5 that I'm not really exactly sure what to make of in light of Slothrop taking up the pig suit.

Man in the Western World abides by the rules of the system, but in the colonies where he is free from the system, he may follow his natural impulses alone. "Christian Europe was death" (322) in the same way that the text constantly reminds us that the system fueling the war and its aftermath depends on death. To lose sight of death and indulge life in the colonies is to free oneself from that system.

Slothrop's first American ancestor William took interest in pigs because he "came to love their nobility and personal freedom, their gift for finding comfort in the mud on a hot day" (564). By any conventional (as defined by the Western system) measure, pigs hardly qualify as noble or free creatures, but in this case, their ability to indulge in life free from the conventions of a society leads them to a state of ultimate freedom where they are neither the damned nor the elect. The pigs "were everything Boston wasn't" (564). As a small microcosm of the elect versus preterite system, Boston serves as a synecdoche for the whole system which will drive the Western World which the pigs do not fit into. William Slothrop waited for "the one pig that wouldn't die, that would validate all the ones who'd had to" (565). He imagines a Jesus-like pig who with the help of combined innocence and knowledge can transcend the system which dooms the other pigs.

To a great extent, Slothrop acts like one of these pigs from the start of GR, yet gradually, he becomes more paranoid of the system while at the same time, reverts more and more towards his innocent animalistic instincts. I think the pig suit directly points towards this continuing trend, though I don't really know how to tie this into Major Marvy's abduction. Will he manage to put it all together? Probably not, but maybe he will come to symbolize the opportunity for change in a time of anarchy over which the reimposition of the system albeit under a more complex guise will ultimately crush.

I think it's interesting that while Slothrop does revert to his animalistic instincts, he also had that whole "moral judgement" incident discussed in an earlier blog entry. It's as though there's a tiny section of his brain (and maybe only for that one scene) that refuses his instinctual drive. I'm not quite sure what that says about anything, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

Good point. Instinctual drive versus moral judgement seems to tie directly into the theme of freedom versus control; animalistic instincts allow one the freedom of, say, a pig, while morality is a huge constraint. Slothrop doesn't seem to be too controlled by his morality, but that one scene did indicate its presence.