Reading: Re-reading The Crying of Lot 49: A Note on the Oz Connection

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Re-reading The Crying of Lot 49: A Note on the Oz Connection

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Angela Reich

State University of New York at Old Westbury
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Abstract

A disembodied head floats in the shower steam in the dressing room scene of chapter three of The Crying of Lot 49. While Oedipa Maas interviews Randolph Driblette backstage after the performance of The Courier's Tragedy, "He stuck his head out of the shower. The rest of his body was wreathed in steam, giving his head an eerie, balloon-like buoyancy" (78). Just as "[s]omething came to her viscera" in recognition of Driblette's look of "deep amusement" (78), something danced in my viscera too in response to this visual image of Driblette's suspended head: the purely American fable containing the archetypal suspended head, The Wonderful Wizard of OZ, "one of the most important cultural documents and fairy tales in American history" (Leach 1). Alluding to Oz by using the illusion of the floating head surrounded by steam is an apt way for Pynchon to introduce L. Frank Baum's nineteenth-century American trickster as a model for Driblette, trickster/director of The Courier's Tragedy.
How to Cite: Reich, A., (1992). Re-reading The Crying of Lot 49: A Note on the Oz Connection. Pynchon Notes. (30-31), pp.179–184. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.241
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Published on 22 Sep 1992.
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