R & J and Hamlet (Slothrop)

I found that Roger's "monologue" at the end of Part I really very emotional. It wasn't really "sweet", because their "hollywood love" isn't perfect (since it's an affair and everything). Nonetheless, I found Pynchon's writing really wonderful right there.

Now, I have a long long long history with Shakespeare's Hamlet, and it may have gone to my head. However, Slothrop's experiences on the Rivera made me think of Hamlet (eeek). Bloat and Tantivy really resemble Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. They are somewhat amusing, sometimes a bit dopey, and seem very innocent and used. Yet they are trying to get something from Slothrop, and he knows it. Furthermore, everyone calls Slothrop paranoid (implying crazy), which is rather like Hamlet. Like Hamlet, Slothrop knows there is something fishy (octopus, even) about the whole situation.


It seems like angels have been showing up a lot in the reading lately. To date, two female characters have been connected with angels- Franz imagines his wife, Leni Pökler, as having wings that will take him away, and Katje is also described as having wing-like shoulder blades. In one of the sections on Blicero, he thinks of Rilke's Tenth Elegy, which has an Angel in it. There are a multitude of smaller references to angels, as in the carol that the children sing at Christmas, (hark the herald angel sing...) and in the scene where Katje is being photographed, and there is a reference to a certain type of mushroom that is called after an angel. Finally, there is the Angel that appears during an air raid over the city of Lübeck (p.153-154).

Hopefully it's not just me.


I try to keep an open mind. But is anyone else put off by the fact that human excrement is actually a motif in this book?

I also find the book....not really sexist....but overwhelmingly masculine. I think that makes it hard for me to really *like* the book (as a female). It just feels uncomfortable, but not just because some of the subjects are uncomfortable. It's something in the book's personality, or in the author's voice. Even when he is focused on a female, it is clearly a male writer. Maybe it's the overabundance of penises that's doing it. I think it's more than that, though.

Cause and Effect

Much to my relief, I found that these next 100 pages went a lot more smoothly than did the previous 150. I feel like I understood a lot more of what happened; somehow it seems that Pynchon's writing style became easier to understand once the action left England (at the beginning of part 2). And maybe that's some sort of a theme--in war-confused England, the writing is very stream-of-conscious and difficult; in the sunny Riviera, the writing is more simplistic and easy to follow.

I thought it was really interesting that, after our discussion about cause and effect in class yesterday, there was a brief mention of cause and effect in the novel.

Question about page 212

I was wondering what you all thought of the passage on pg. 212 begining " 'You were in London,' she will present whisper" and ending with "an they its children..." Did this section give anyone else pause? While the word "rainbow" has been deployed elsewhere, this seems, unless I missed something, to be the first reference to the novel's title - gravity's rainbow = some kind of connection between people + rockets (or war) + color + mathmatetical structure. The theme of the modern/rational categories being epistemologically inadequate seems to be at least one recurring point in the story, but here Pynchon seems to be indicting human feebleness to an even greater degree: "You haven't even learned the data on our side of the flight profile, the visible or trackable.

o the places we've gone! already!

I've found the resources available in this novel for the changing of time, place, and reality to be staggering. Though we're in these 9 days we've been so very many places. Along these lines, thinking about this book in relation to more traditional novels is kinda like comparing cartoons and sitcoms. The Simpsons can go anywhere and do anything while it is tough for Seinfeld to incorporate too much chronological, geographic, or supernatural flexibility. GR seems to move effortessly and oftentimes so seamlessly it is hard to notice between places, times, and realities. We have so many episodes, of course, and these make it easy to move around and restart, but the fluidity and reactiveness of the narrative enables this movement as well. A bottle of ether spills and the fumes not only reach roger and the doctor but Pynchon as well.

Mmmmmm Mayonnaise Candy


Dear God what an insane book! Gravity's Rainbow really bends your mind. Its tendency to fuse the paranormal with the simply outrageous creates the illusion of a never ending dream, where waking up, is not really waking up. Despite having never read anything quite like this however, the part that stood out to me the most, was not the imagery, characters or just the insanity of it all, but rather the descriptions of taste.

The scene where Slothrop goes to Mrs. Quoad's house with Darlene is really one of a kind for me. It is here Pychon's humor ("Show a little backbone" (120)) and descriptive ability really shines. ".. an enormous bonbon chomp through the mantle of chocolate to a strong eucalyptus-flavored fondant, finally into a core of some very tough grape gum Arabic" (119). Eucalyptus flavored! I have never tasted a eucalyptus tree and yet I feel as if I have and this eclectic mix of ingredients is sitting right in my mouth as I read. So many books can go heavy on the visuals, but only a few will ever approach the subject of taste like Gravity's Rainbow does.


After reading 150 pages of Gravity's Rainbow I am experiencing information overload. Whoever did the cover art did a really good job of expressing the feelings inspired by the novel. I feel like I'm in the middle of a crazy war zone whenever I start reading. This probably has something to do with the author's frequent use vivid imagery, run-on sentences, and stream of consciousness. At first I had no idea what was going on, but towards the end of the reading it seemed like some of the characters' stories are beginning to overlap and everything is becoming slightly clearer. However, I'm still feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of information that was crammed into the first 150 pages.

Which of these is your favorite name used thus far in the novel?

Grigori the octopus
23% (3 votes)
Ernest Pudding
15% (2 votes)
Mingeborough, Massachusetts
8% (1 vote)
Roger Mexico
8% (1 vote)
Pirate Prentice
46% (6 votes)
Total votes: 13

Bananas and the War

One thing that I find interesting about Gravity's Rainbow is that Pynchon not only incorporates historical and cultural allusions in his work, but that he also includes a great deal of scientific and mathematical allusions as well. In one of my favorite passages so far, Pynchon describes Pirate's banana breakfast with the expected sensory vocabulary and with the unexpected vocabulary of biology, "[the] odor of Breakfast-- taking over not so much through any brute pungency or volume as by the high intricacy to the weaving of its molecules, sharing the conjuror's secret by which- though it is not often Death is told so clearly to fuck off- the living genetic chains prove even labyrinthine enough to preserve some human face down twenty generations--"(10)

Syndicate content