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.

Colonialism, West vs. East

This section has ventured away from the goings-on of Europe for some time, which was refreshing, since war clearly affects more regions than the West. It ventured into the Middle East, as well as China presumably near or around the time of the opium wars (certainly during the time when the economy was thriving due to opium sales, but the people were falling into addiction and not able to alleviate their despair --> discussed on pg 346-347 in my book).

The book addressed colonialism rather poignantly, in one of my favorite passages: "Colonies are the outhouses of the European soul [...] Christian Europe was always death, Karl, death, and repression. Out and down in the colonies, life can be indulged, life and sensuality in all its forms, with no harm done to the Metropolis, nothing to soil those cathedrals, white marbel statues, noble thoughts... No word ever gets back. The silences down here are vast enought to absorb all behavior[...]" (317).

Random things I immediately liked/thought about

Okay, so that history Imipolex G really confused me. I had to ask my science major roommate to explain a lot of the terms Pynchon threw out there. One of the first things I immediately looked up was the word "aromatic." On page 252, Pynchon writes that the Imipolex G is "an aromatic heterocyclic polymer." I didn't know why a type of plastic would produce a fragrant odor, so I looked it up on the OED. Here it is (shortened considerably, since it was very long):

2. Chem. Epithet of an extensive group of organic compounds, consisting of benzene and its homologues In mod. use, pertaining to or designating a compound with one or more planar conjugated rings of the form typified by the benzene molecule; a group of six pi-electrons in the ring of an aromatic molecule regarded as responsible for its aromaticity.

Questions, Yin-Yang and ..... a little humor

I have a burning and probably not immediately answerable question: Who is Dr. Lazlo Jamf?
Almost every thread of GR links back to him, yet I feel I don't really know him. We know a fair amount of details about him and his work, but I only feel that I've "heard of him" but not "met" him like I have with Pynchon's other characters.

With that out of the way, I particluarly liked the use of yin-Yang at the end of part 2 to illustrate the inexorable connection between Roger and Pointsman. The system of Yin and Yang is a binary one like Pointsman who may only exist at zero or one. However, regardless of their contrast to each other, they exist as a blended entity in nature. By that token, Roger, lying in the infinite domain from zero to one, provides the necessary link between Pointsman's binary universe and the far more complex real world of a war. In that same real world of a war where man's law and nature's law stand in open conflict, Roger faces the loss of Jessica, his salvation. Roger is among elect, the war has not passed him by costing him his salvation. "Lord Acton always sez, History is not woven by innocent hands" (281).

Rocket arousals and girls in pink lab coats


I find it so interesting that Slothrop's romantic fantasies and sexual desires are so intrinsically entwined with the idea of the rocket! On page the bottom of page 308 and onto 309 he entertains a sexual fantasy of girls "in tight pink lab coats reaching just to the tops of bare thighs...giggling and reaching to drape around his neck lush garlands of silvery B nuts and flange fittings, scarlet resistors, and bright yellow capacitors strung like little sausages...into an empty Stollen, where they all commence a fabulous orgy..." This is so intriging to me because it seems that often people, when engaging in monotonous daily tasks, like work, will often fantasize about something other than work.

information as money

Semyavin, to Slothrop (261) "Life was simple before the first war. You wouldn't remember. Drugs, sex, luxury items. Currency in those days was no more than a sideline, and the term 'industrial espionage' was unknown...Is it any wonder the world's gone insane, with information come to be the only real medium of exchange?"

I'm not sure if Pynchon wrote this as pertaining to wartime vs. peacetime (information being the currency of war?) but it made me think of changes in education over time. Today we seek information in the form of education much more vehemently than ever before and competition for good colleges is at its highest.

in response to the recent discussion of the masculine

This was going to be a comment....but it's not.

A fellow senior English major here at Pomona is actually writing his thesis on the feminine in Gravity's Rainbow (and one other book). I was very surprised to find that out, as I thought the masculine would be the obvious choice. We've got how many characters at this point, and something like two of them are women? Anyway, I realized, while contemplating this guy's choice, that their role in the novel is actually a lot more powerful than we are giving them credit for. I'm pretty sure Katje is a major power player, or at least was in her past.

Imipolex G


In accordance with my recent fascination with names in this book, I realized tonight that I would very much like to know the reasons behind Pynchon naming the plastic Imipolex G. Problem is, I'm so far past its introduction into the novel, that I could spend days looking for the citation in the companion that would explain it to me.
Did anybody happen to look up the origins of that name, or know where in the book it's first referenced at least?

Statistics and Ownership

The other day, in my Intro to Statistics class, my professor introduced a series of equations to us. And one of them happened to be the Poisson equation. Pynchon's definition fits pretty well with the definition my professor gave us (I was actually a bit disappointed--it would be interesting, but I suppose highly unlikely, to catch Pynchon in a mistake). Anyways. I thought it was pretty cool to see a link between a literature class and a math class--I don't get those very often.

On page 307, Pynchon mentions "Slothrop and The Penis He Thought Was His Own." This really resonated with me, for some reason.

Going nuts?


For anyone who gets frustrated with the book:


Mind you, I see value in reading this book (at the moment, at least). No disrespect is intended...it was just funny.

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