In order to lead lives of personal meaning and value, the victims of economic exploitation and military oppression in Gravity's Rainbow must strive to band together into groups whose languages and structures have not been dictated to them by the purveyors of technology and the strategists of war. Similarly, in order to read Gravity's Rainbow in a meaningful way, its would-be interpreters must liberate themselves from some of the conventional constraints governing their reading behavior, thus enabling themselves to enter into a fresh dialogue with the novel. What I would like to suggest, therefore, is that for both characters and readers a "folk consciousness" must come to supplant what may be termed, following the language of the novel, a "firm consciousness." The rewards of the former and the ill-effects of the latter--within and without the novel--will be explored in this essay.
How to Cite:
Workman, M. E., (1983) “Gravity's Rainbow: A Folkloristic Reading”, Pynchon Notes 12, 16-25. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/pn.415