Slothrop

Rocket arousals and girls in pink lab coats

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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.

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).

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.

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.

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