It never ends

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Page 279 has my favorite random phallic reference. The reason I like it is because it is especially random (in my opinion) or, if not random, totally excessive. In short, it amuses me.

"And so, too, the legend of the black scapeape we cast down like Lucifer from the tallest errection in the world has come, in the fullness of time, to generate its own children, running around inside Germany even now--the Schwarzkommando, whom Mitchell Prettyplace, even, could not anticipate."

So...I've reread that paragraph...and chuckle because it's getting just excessive. It's getting hard to even take such images seriously.

Slothrop's multiple personas

I noticed that the companion book spends a lot of time clarifying which identity Slothrop is currently using in his "escape to freedom". So far, there doesn't seem to be much purpose in his changing identity, besides an explanation to how he is alluding recapture. Every once in a while, though, it's as though Slothrop does take on his new persona- "But Ian Scuffling, ace reporter, will be sure to find a clue down in the Mittelwerke" (page 287).

Why does Pointsman Pull Pudding's Strings?

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I hate to bring up this section of the book again, since it did include some very obscene descriptions of bodily functions, but I am a bit confused about one part of it. I understand that Domina Nocturna is Katje, and that this is all some cruel set up of Pointsman's, but why? Why did Ernest Pudding have to undergo all of these tests? He clearly knew they were tests and he didn't seem surprised, but I am still foggy about it. Why did he go from cell to cell, being tested by Pointsman? Is Pointsman the mastermind? Is he the one dictating the Slothrop following and spying and basically every scheme in this book? If anyone could clear up my thinking, I would be much obliged.

anyone else

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I certainly do the reading and use the companion book...but in and article or in class some scenes are mentioned and I go "wait...when did that happen?" because I did not fully understand what was happening while reading.

Does anyone else have this? It's really unsettling.

Who Framed Roger Mexico

I have to preface this by saying that I didn't come up with this. Unfortunately, I forget who did. Step up and take credit!

We mentioned, in our group discussion, the bit about Roger and Jessica sharing the initials of the most famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Someone brought up another, perhaps more well-known Roger and Jessica pair:

Masculinity? What does it mean.

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So as this debate about masculinity grows and grows, I am becoming more and more confused by what we are defining masculinity as. I think, therefore, it would be really helpful if we could clearly articulate the criterion for when something is masculine, and when it is not.

Here are the adjectives I associate with masculine: macho, decisive, in control, powerful, strength.

I know there are alot more things which might be used to define masculine, but for the sake of simplicity, i'll let other people articulate those.

Moments of Peace in War

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On page 172, just after Pointsmen has recieved oral sex from Maud, it says, "But no one saw them, then or ever, and in the winter ahead, here and there, her look will cross his and she'll begin to blush red as her knees, she'll come to his room off the loab once or twice perhaps, but somehow they're never to have this again, this sudden tropics in the held breath of war and English December, this moment of perfect peace." Typically oral sex is not seen as an act of emotional intimacy, but rather as an erotic sexual act. I think it's interesting that Pynchon has chosen this as the perfect moment of peace.

Another Male Perspective / Postmodernism

I think the gender slant in this novel - though, like many of you, I wouldn't go so far as to use a more loaded term like "sexism" - comes through in the questions that define Pynchon's project more than any overt misogyny (or if there is, it has to do with the historical period, not authorial bias). To take Running Silent's example from another post of Pavlov/causality as gender neutral issues, I wonder: would a female author be so preoccupied with figuring out what-it-all-means, and be so disturbed when she cannot? I'm not going to engage the constructionist aspects of question here (e.g., "well what defines gender?"), but I will offer my two-cents about the history of critical theory.

The Blitz vs The Riviera

When I first started reading Gravity's Rainbow, I instinctively attempted to impose some sort of structure to the narrative as I read. As I continued to read, I gave up on that to a large degree. Since then I've really enjoyed just going with the narrative as it flowed from character to character, from reality to fantasy, and back again. I found the style of the first section to be very reminiscent of what is occurring in London: the constant uncertainty and danger of the Blitz being echoed in the quick changes of scene and viewpoint. The second section of the book also reflects the time and place in which it is set. So far, most of the narrative in this part has focused on Slothrop's time on the Riviera, which at least in regards to the war has been peaceful. This is reflected in the style of the section, which is a bit slower paced and doesn't tend to jump around as much. I found some of the scenes to be a bit more "light-hearted:" the beginning of the scene on the beach, the mock fight with the seltzer and brandy, the toga chase, and Slothrop's drinking game. I'm really looking forward to seeing how things progress, especially as Slothrop becomes both more paranoid, and more aware of what is going on around him.

Ignoring all of the confusion...

Ignoring all of the confusion and madness thus far in GR, I've recently been trying to pause and appreciate some of Pynchon's amazing, and often beautiful, writing. In many sections, the more straightforward ones in particular, I've been continually impressed with just how great Pynchon's prose is. From the opening lines "a screaming comes across the sky" I knew that however confusing the book was (and oh my how ill prepared I was for it) I'd at least be in awe of at least a few passages.
In particular, I've enjoyed many of the sections with only a few characters, and those sections heavy in dialogue.

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