Reading: Franz Pökler's Anti-Story: Narrative and Self in Gravity's Rainbow

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Franz Pökler's Anti-Story: Narrative and Self in Gravity's Rainbow

Author:

Robert L. McLaughlin

llinois State University
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Abstract

Gravity's Rainbow complicates traditional notions of narrative and self in two interconnecting ways. The text is both a narrative that problematizes the individuated self and a metafiction that problematizes the forms traditionally seen as making narrative a vehicle for communicating meaning. From Pirate Prentice's managing other people's fantasies to Siothrop's disappearance, the text challenges the idea of a coherent, self-responsible individual interacting uniquely with the world. As a metafiction, the text challenges the cause-and-effect assumptions behind narrative sequence and the hermeneutical assumptions behind evaluation and interpretation of narrative discourse. These two challenges are manifested in the narrative of Franz Pökler. The dominant consciousness in the longest chapter in Gravity's Rainbow, Pokier tries to assess his situation by looking back at his years as a scientist in the V-2 rocket program, essentially trying to organize his life story.
How to Cite: McLaughlin, R.L., (1997). Franz Pökler's Anti-Story: Narrative and Self in Gravity's Rainbow. Pynchon Notes. (40-41), pp.159–175. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.170
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Published on 22 Sep 1997.
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